Bowraville’s BCU Branch to Close Down

The bcu Branch on High Street Bowraville will close permanently on 10 February 2023.

LAST week residents of Bowraville received confirmation of the news most did not want to hear, they would be losing their branch of the Banana-coast Community Credit Union (bcu) permanently, effective 10 February 2023.

In a statement to its members bcu cited data showing a significant increase in digital and cashless banking and a corresponding decline in branch foot traffic as the key reason for the closure.

Club UrungaAdvertise with News of The Area today.
It’s worth it for your business.
Message us.
Phone us – (02) 4981 8882.
Email us –

The statement pointed out the demand for Bowraville Branch services and transaction numbers have dropped to levels that no longer support the branch remaining open.

News Of The Area spoke to Bowraville locals about the closure and what it means to them.

Born and raised in the iconic verandah town of Bowraville, young mum Leonie Lewis said, “Many of us feel that Bowraville is already isolated in many ways and the bcu closure will greatly add to our isolation.

“Public transport options are very limited so having to travel to Macksville or Nambucca Heads for branch services is beyond inconvenient.”

Although bcu’s statement to members outlines alternate ways of banking such as their call centre, internet banking, phone banking and the use of an app, Kerri Savins of the Bowraville Pharmacy said, “There are still people on rural properties in the area who rely on branch services due to technical, literacy or incapacity issues, especially among the elderly.

“These people still rely on teller services and I am concerned for them once the branch is shut down.”

In November 2019 bcu merged with the Western Australian based P&N Bank with the support of the majority of its members.

At the time bcu thanked its members for their overwhelming support and commitment to customer owned banking.

Bowraville man Jim Cameron OAM told News of The Area, “The Bowraville BCU Branch has been an important part of our town for many years and we were promised services would not erode after the merger in 2019 but it seems like services have been eroding ever since.”

Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey, in a social media statement issued last week, expressed her disappointment with the announcement.

“Today (October 25) I had a meeting with bcu’s Chief Executive Officer and asked for this decision to be reversed.

“I was informed instead the determination is final.

“I am very disappointed with this outcome – and I know the community is too.”

Created in the early 1970s by a small group of business owners – predominately banana farmers on the NSW North Coast – the newly formed union aimed to provide a local and less ruthless banking alternative for regional people.

“Looking after the Nambucca Valley community was central to the union’s principles,” said Ms Pavey.

“Sadly, this founding ethos is now well in the past with the branch closure affecting the many in the Bowraville community.

“bcu have assured me they will work directly with the most impacted members and assist transition them to alternative ways of banking; including waiving fees for face-to-face banking at Australia Post (Bank@post).

“Regarding the local Bowraville Branch employees, I have confirmed there will be no forced redundancies and all affected employees will be offered redeployment to other suitable positions within bcu.

“On a final note; while there’s been a trend in banking behaviours, including increased use of digital banking, which have resulted in a decline in branch walk-ins, this doesn’t mean there should be a complete closure of bcu at Bowraville,” said Ms Pavey.

Bowraville is not alone when it comes to the closure of its bcu branch as the Iluka and Murwillumbah branches will also close their doors on the same day.

Bcu details the three branches headed for closure are averaging less than 20 transactions per day and continuing to decline despite the easing of COVID restrictions.


Leave a Reply