Small town bank workers face nervous wait as more closures considered



NZN | One News

BNZ customers in the Bay of Plenty town of Kawerau will find out next week if a branch closure is imminent there.

BNZ (Bank of New Zealand)

Source: ONE News

A BNZ spokesperson has told ONE News they are in an ongoing staff consultation period about a proposal to close their Kawerau branch.

They say this has been brought on since the lease for their current building expires in January.

Additionally the spokesperson said there’s been a significant decline in use of the branch over the past few years, due to online banking.

Once the staff consultation period is over, BNZ will take the feedback into consideration before making a decision some time next week. 

BNZ says it is constantly reviewing the location of their stores.

BNZ has closed two other banks this year.

Their branch on Manners Street in Wellington was closed on February 26 and their Wellsford store was closed on July 1.

Westpac closures

Meanwhile, First Union says it appears major banks are abandoning regional New Zealand, following Westpac's decision to close 19 branches.

Westpac bank

Source: ONE News

Westpac yesterday said the branches are expected to shut in November.

The branches that will close are Kamo, Raglan, Otorohanga, Putaruru, Te Aroha, Cherrywood, Whangamata, Broadway Ave, Wainuiomata, Waikanae, Carterton, Takaka, Stoke, Fendalton Mall, Bishopdale, Gardens, Fairlie, Ranfurly and Te Anau.

"Our members are nervous because some of the redeployment options on the table are unrealistic," said national organiser Tali Williams.

ANZ workers in places like Hokitika and Milton were expected to relocate to Christchurch.

Smaller towns would also suffer a double hit with both Westpac and ANZ branches closing.

"Our members in the branches are asking 'who's next'," Ms Williams said.

"The major banks appear to be systematically abandoning regional New Zealand."

It said customers were rapidly changing the way they did their banking and more than 85 per cent of service transactions now took place outside a branch.

Westpac said it would provide alternatives for customers, including digital devices for community use and upgraded ATM and deposit facilities.

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