Protests over ASB clo­sures

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HUGH COLLINS

Two Pt Che­va­lier ASB bank branches are clos­ing and res­i­dents are not happy.

Last month ASB an­nounced it would be clos­ing the Great North Rd and Sel­wyn Vil­lage re­tire­ment home branches on De­cem­ber 23.

The clo­sures come af­ter the Aus­tralian-owned bank closed its Mt Eden branch on July 29 and its Karanga­hape Rd branch on March 18. The Great North Rd branch has been serv­ing the sub­urb since 1931.

A group of pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the Great North Rd branch on De­cem­ber 13 to ex­press their dis­may. Protest or­gan­iser and Al­bert Eden Lo­cal Board mem­ber Margi Wat­son said the clo­sure of the two banks was out­ra­geous.

‘‘When you go to that branch you al­ways have to queue for ser­vice so it is very pop­u­lar, there are al­ways peo­ple in there.’’

She said res­i­dents at Sel­wyn Vil­lage had lim­ited op­por­tu­nity to bank, with some not hav­ing in­ter­net ac­cess.

‘‘We’ve seen this hap­pen in other places, you take away the bank you take away the post office and then it un­der­mines the vi­a­bil­ity of all the other busi­nesses in the area.

‘‘Peo­ple like to be able to walk or ride to their lo­cal shops if they’re not as mo­bile.’’

Pt Che­va­lier res­i­dent and phys­io­ther­a­pist Chris Casey said the area was go­ing to see significant hous­ing growth in com­ing years.

‘‘You’re talk­ing about the streetscape look­ing very dif­fer­ent in the next five to 10 years. So we’re go­ing to have a lot more liv­ing here and need some kind of ser­vice.

‘‘I don’t have prob­lem with them mov­ing out of that build­ing if they wanted to have a smaller foot­print that wouldn’t be a prob­lem, there are places round Pt Chev for lease.’’

ASB gen­eral man­ager of branch bank­ing Lo­gan Munro said the two Pt Che­va­lier branches were clos­ing due to low and de­clin­ing num­bers of staff-as­sisted trans­ac­tions.

‘‘In­creas­ing num­bers of our cus­tomers are choos­ing to ful­fil their day-to-day bank­ing needs through dig­i­tal chan­nels such as the ASB Mo­bile App and in­ter­net bank­ing,’’ Munro said. With the Pt Che­va­lier ASB hav­ing been part of the com­mu­nity for a long­time, it wasn’t a de­ci­sion that was made lightly, he said.

‘‘We will be work­ing with cus­tomers in the com­mu­nity to sup­port them through this change.’’

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