Protests over ASB closures
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.’’