Lesmurdie IGA owners Steve and Karen Gurney said the ATM had been removed by the Commonwealth Bank (CBA), despite the bank being presented with a petition signed by 1446 shoppers and small business owners.
“Since they have taken it away, we have lost business and I don’t think the bank thought of the ramifications,” Mr Gurney said.
“We are the biggest shopping centre in Lesmurdie and we need an ATM for customers to check their balance and withdraw cash as well.”
Mr Gurney said he had rung the bank to query the removal and been transferred to 17 different people over six hours before ending up back where he started.
“They basically said to me, where is Lesmurdie, go to Forrestfield for your nearest bank, there is not enough foot traffic,” he said.
Mr Gurney said that a lot of elderly shoppers in the area shopped at the centre and used the bank as they did not need to drive to Kalamunda.
“They can come down here on their gophers and do what they need and maintain that independence, as many of them no longer drive a car,” he said.
Hasluck MHR Ken Wyatt said he had assisted the shop owners and local residents by contacting a number of other banks, urging them to install a new ATM at the centre.
Mr Wyatt also presented the petition with the signatures to the bank.
“Last year, the CBA removed the ATM, leaving Lesmurdie residents without easy access to banking facilities in the area,” he said.
“This has hit elderly residents especially hard; they now have to travel to Kalamunda or Lesmurdie just to check the amount of money they have in their bank accounts.
“Equally, small businesses like Steve and Karen’s have suffered due to a loss in foot traffic.
“Shoppers who used to come here are now heading elsewhere so they can use banking facilities when they buy their groceries.
“Running a small business is hard enough without suffering from the actions of big corporate-based banks in Sydney.
“There has to be a moral obligation on behalf of big banks to consider the social impact on residents and senior Australians.
“I will be contacting all the major banks over the next week to see who will be willing to provide services to local residents here in need.”
Mr Gurney said the boarders at St Brigid’s and Mazenod also used the ATM.
“Now it has been removed, they can only access banking facilities when accompanied into Kalamunda by school staff on weekends,” he said.
In a letter from the CBA, a customer resolutions consultant in Parramatta said that the bank “has made a commercial decision due to reduction in transaction volumes”.
In the letter, the bank spokesperson said the decision “was our final response”.
Mr Gurney said this seemed to indicate the bank would not consider reinstating the ATM but another bank might be happy to offer the service at the centre for the community.