(Image credit: ABC Australia)
The only local community bank which serves the Australian outback has closed all its branches, forcing locals to travel long distances to manage their banking.
Australia’s Westpac Bank is closing 1,400 branches nationwide, including in Meekatharra, a community around 500 miles north of Perth, Western Australia.
Around 2,000 people live in and around Meekatharra. Many residents are indigenous Australians, with limited access to online banking.
The local post office will handle deposits and withdrawals, but all other banking activity must be managed online or by traveling to the nearest bank in Geraldton, about 330 miles away. Many locals have no access to transport, and others have limited resources to pay for travel.
Mekatharra’s Westpac bank branch has been operating for over 100 years and its closure has been described as devastating for the town.