AS if things weren’t tough enough for local businesses following months of drought, bushfire and economic uncertainty, National Australia Bank (NAB) has decided to put the boot in too.
Boonah business Smiffy’s Guns & Ammo, which has been trading in the town for several years without incident, received a letter from the bank dated January 29th, informing them that the bank had chosen to cease providing them with banking services as a result of reviews into “the risks associated with providing banking services to customers involved in certain industries”.
Owner Anita Smith was gobsmacked by the decision, which has forced her to find an inconvenient workaround to make certain deposits into the business account and created more headaches she does not need as a local business owner.
She said she had chosen NAB about 18 months ago as they were one of the few banks with a physical branch in Boonah, and had never had any issues with the bank or its staff before.
“We can’t use a local bank because of what business we are, yet we can legally operate in the town just as they can. It’s ridiculous,” she said.
She said she shouldn’t have to resort to workarounds to make business deposits and was not at all happy with her highly regulated and secure business being deemed a banking risk when that clearly wasn’t true.
“I am making a formal complaint to NAB about this. It’s totally unacceptable,” she said.
Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park slammed NAB’s decision, calling it abhorrent virtue-signalling which directly harmed rural communities, made it harder for farmers to protect their crops, and penalised people taking part in a popular, safe, and highly regulated sport.
“There are literally millions of law-abiding firearms users in Australia, all of whom have undergone extensive background checks to get their licences,” he said.
“Gun dealers are subject to even further checks, security requirements, and safety standards – there is no risk whatsoever in providing gun shops with merchant banking facilities.”
Mr Park said NAB’s decision was particularly confusing given what happened the last time a bank decided it didn’t want to support law-abiding firearms users.
“Given the public outcry against Bank of Queensland when they pulled a similar stunt last year, I cannot imagine what was going through the minds of whoever at NAB decided to take this action,” he said.
“It goes without saying we are now encouraging every law-abiding firearms user in Australia to seriously reconsider any banking arrangements they may have with NAB, and will be checking our own accounts to make sure none of them are with the bank.
“I’m sure NAB’s shareholders may want to ask questions about why the bank is going out of its way to alienate legitimate and highly regulated businesses which support our struggling regional economies.”
There’s been quite a bit of interest in this one from local media; the Beaudesert Times has already picked up the story after we sent the above release to them: https://www.beaudeserttimes.com.au/story/6672172/gun-shop-dumped-by-major-bank/?cs=2411