Major Australian Bank Closes All Physical Branches as Nation Ushers In ‘Cashless Society’

One of Australia’s leading banks has announced that it is closing down all of its physical branches as it makes the shift to becoming 100 percent digital.

The move comes as Australia continues to usher in the “cashless society” agenda pushed by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

As Slay News previously reported, the WEF has been calling on governments around the globe to begin ushering plans to eliminate physical cash and roll out digital “money.”

The WEF published a new report on Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) to coincide with its “Summer Davos” event in Communist China last summer.

In its report, the WEF praises CBDCs, calls for “public-private partnerships” on digital cash, and urges governments to begin “advancing cashless societies.”

In Australia, several major banks have responded to the demands from the WEF by phasing out the use of physical cash as they prepare for the coming “cashless societies.”

The move is seen by many as preparation for the rollout of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

The global rollout of CBDCs will usher in technocratic authoritarianism in the form of “cashless societies,” where all privacy in trade is lost and banks and governments will control access to all of your money.

Over the past year, the Australian government and central bank have been involved in a beta test for a world with no physical cash.

Australian banks are now starting to close their branches as they make the shift to becoming all-digital.

Bankwest, a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), has announced that it is closing 45 of its branches and transitioning the remaining 15 CBA branches to go fully digital by October 2024.

This announcement comes as Sydney-based banking software company Constantinople, a startup founded by two former executives of major bank Westpac, unveils a new app called Business+.

The company claims that this app will be an all-in-one mobile app that can offer Australia’s first end-to-end digital banking platform for the country’s 2.4 million businesses with fewer than 10 employees.

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CBA and Westpac are two of Australia’s “Big Four,” or the four largest banks that have traditionally dominated Australia’s banking industry in terms of market share, revenue, and total assets.

The two others are ANZ and National Australia Bank.

Last year, Constantinople raised AU$32 million ($21.2 million) from investors to develop its “bank-in-a-box” platform aimed at getting more people to shift away from traditional financial institutions and toward digital banking.

Great Southern Bank, one of the country’s largest credit unions, has already signed up to launch Business+.

CEO and Managing Director Paul Lewis said the company had “taken the best of the neo-bank proposition, digitally first, with what we’re good at, which is the banking license side, regulatory requirements.”

Neobanks are digital-only banking platforms that operate solely online.

“We’ve got the whole package, which I think is a first in Australia,” Lewis said.

He noted that other neobanks launched with only a handful of basic products such as savings accounts, but no lending capability.

Small businesses would be able to sign up for an account in under 10 minutes, a time frame he called “fantastic.”

Australia is transitioning to a cashless society faster than almost anywhere else.

Last year, the Australian Banking Association reported that the use of digital wallet payments on smartphones and watches had increased from AU$746 million ($494.28 million) in 2018 to over AU$93 billion ($61.62 billion) in 2022.

Nevertheless, the response to Bankwest’s branch closures shows that there is still strong opposition to Australia’s transition to a fully cashless society.

Many of the bank’s customers, for example, are up in arms over its decision to become Australia’s first major digital-only bank.

“How dare they limit our access to our own cash money and their services, which should be widely available to us,” said one customer called Lyn.

Lyn told Yahoo that, after over three decades of loyalty to Bankwest, she would be closing all of her accounts with the bank.

She blasted the bank’s “disrespectful” move that will make vulnerable customers have a more difficult time accessing financial services.

“My main concern is not for ourselves, but for our seniors, for whom it can be very difficult to adapt to the new technological ways, physically move around, drive or travel large distances,” said Lyn.

The Australian Senate has also demanded that Bankwest executives appear for an inquiry.

National Party Sen. Matt Canavan, chair of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, has noted how Bankwest’s decision was disappointing.

“These closures will impact all the communities that they operate in, reducing banking choice and the ability to get an essential service,” he said.

READ MORE – Biden Admin: Digital Cash Is a ‘Key Duty’ of the Federal Reserve

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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