Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Uniondale: 1 step closer to becoming a ghost town with the closure of Standard Bank

Uniondale, population 4500 (living people), will be left with only 1 bank (ABSA) come the end of October 2019 with the closure of the Standard Bank branch. This was not one of the branches earmarked to be closed during 2019, when 104 Standard Bank branches across the country were closed earlier this year.

The closure was announced in September, after the CEO Sim Tshabalala announced that branch closures was a mistake: http://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/standard-bank-to-review-decision-to-close-90-branches/

Uniondale services a large agricultural community beyond the town itself. The closure means job losses in a town already struggling economically: most of the population depends either directly on grants or government sponsored public works programs.  

FNB closed its doors in Uniondale roughly 7 years ago. I was banking with FNB at the time and switched to Standard Bank, a bank I have used since my parents opened me an account when I was a minor. While it is true that we mostly use online banking and the ATM, there are definitely occasions when the staff are required: my elderly mother needing to go into the branch recently when she encountered a problem with the ATM. Now, the closest Standard Bank branch to Blue Hill Escape is either Oudtshoorn or George, both a 2-hour one-way drive away. Now I will need to consider switching to the already very busy ABSA.

The closure of the branch signifies a great betrayal to our family and to our rural community.

So if you see people on the side of the N9 past Uniondale thumbing for a lift: its probably just some local people trying to make their way to a bank, rather than the local ghost. 

Standard Bank Uniondale: image grabbed from Google streetview.

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