A Riverina community has been left reeling after a major bank announced it would close their local branch.
National Australia Bank announced on Wednesday it would be closing its Lake Cargelligo branch in August, saying the decision had been made due to reduced foot traffic among other reasons.
Loyal customers will now be forced to travel an hour or more to the nearest remaining NAB branches at West Wyalong and Condobolin.
Located on the town's main street, the closure will leave the relatively isolated town with just one major bank - the Commonwealth Bank - left in the town and Lachlan Shire deputy mayor Paul Phillips is not impressed.
"I think it's devastating," Cr Phillips said.
"It blows you away, because [the] banks depended on the farmers and their turnovers in the early days and now they have just turned around and totally ignored them."
In 2020, NAB announced it would be reducing its hours at a number of branches including at Lake Cargelligo.
The deputy mayor, who also runs local business Home Timber & Hardware, said it will make life more difficult for businesses in town.
"There's no question in my mind that it's going to have an impact on every local business that banks with NAB," Cr Phillips said.
Reflecting on better days, Cr Phillips said once upon a time business owners could do their banking whenever they wanted.
"The convenience of those times were fantastic," he said.
Addressing the bank's closure, NAB Retail customer executive for greater regional NSW Allison Baker said the decision was only made after serious consideration.
"We understand how the Lake Cargelligo community is feeling," Ms Baker said.
"The decision to close a branch is never one we take lightly."
She said the move came after the branch saw a "steady decline in over the counter transactions" accompanied by a rise in use of digital banking alternatives at Lake.
"The Lake Cargelligo branch had been averaging just five cash deposits and 11 cash withdrawals per day in 2022, a decline of around 25 per cent in two years," she said.
"Meanwhile close to 90 per cent of Lake Cargelligo customers who are registered for online banking are active users of the mobile app, internet banking and/or telephone banking."
Ms Baker said Lake Cargelligo staff are now assisting customers with digital banking and "introducing them to the Bank@Post team across the road [at the post office]."
Bank@Post allows members of many financial institutions, including NAB customers, to conduct cash, cheque and passbook transactions as well as check account balances.
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But while acknowledging local post office staff will be able to do a great job assisting the transition when the bank closes, Cr Phillips raised concerns about the practicality of this arrangement.
"The [staff] at the post office will have their heads to the grind," he said.
"There are a lot of older people who are not tech-savvy and it's going to take time to make them happy and teach them about what to do."
"If [the post office staff] weren't so lovely, I would have been terribly concerned because customer service isn't always easy and people can be very rude."
Despite the bank's closure, Ms Baker assured locals no one will be left without a job.
"It's important to us that there will be no job losses as part of this change - our branch team will be provided new opportunities across NAB," Ms Baker.
"We're a proud agri and business bank, and for our agri and business customers in Lake Cargelligo and surrounding areas, they'll continue to be supported as they are today, including visits from their agri banker."
The NAB Bank will shut its doors for the last time on Thursday August 24.
The announcement follows a spate of bank closures across the Riverina in recent years.
However there has also been some optimism after the Commonwealth Bank opted to pause the announced closure of its Junee Branch after a senate inquiry into regional bank closures was announced.
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