Ran­furly faces clo­sure of bank

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

A Cen­tral Otago town that faces the loss of its only bank is fight­ing back.

West­pac has an­nounced a pro­posed clo­sure for ’’a num­ber’’ of banks around the coun­try, in­clud­ing Ran­furly.

Ran­furly res­i­dent Amie Pont said the loss of the bank would be dev­ast­ing to the com­mu­nity.

‘‘It is not just about bank­ing habits, it is about a ser­vice it pro­vides to the com­mu­nity. Even though we have a small pop­u­la­tion we are re­silient and well­re­sourced. We have three garages, our own ra­dio sta­tion, two schools, our own hos­pi­tal and rest-home, three choices of early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion cen­tres, a huge tourism in­dus­try with the suc­cess of the rail trail, we have a four-square, cafes, res­tau­rants, ho­tels - we need a bank.’’

Another is­sue was the un­re­li­able in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity in the area which made in­ter­net bank­ing hard.

Of all the pro­posed clo­sures, Ran­furly was the only place that would be left with no bank if the clo­sure went ahead.

Waitaki MP Jac­qui Dean said she would hold a meet­ing in the town on Fri­day, Au­gust 19 to ‘‘try and find a way for­ward’’.

‘‘I’m re­ally con­cerned for the peo­ple of Ran­furly. I ac­cept there may be changes to the way bank­ing ser­vices are de­liv­ered, but I’m con­cerned busi­nesses, farm­ers, fam­i­lies and elderly peo­ple will be dis­ad­van­taged by this shut­down.’’

West­pac has told its Ran­furly cus­tomers it is propos­ing to close the branch. It is the town’s only bank.

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