Digital educator for branchless bankers
Ranfurly has lost its only bank but gained a ‘‘digital educator’’.
Westpac confirmed in September it was closing 19 branches around New Zealand.
The Ranfurly community held a protest in August in opposition to the closure and voiced concern over how the isolated and ageing community would cope.
Westpac manager Scott Sinclair said digital educator Karyn Pettersen would be regularly based in the Central Otago District Council’s Ranfurly Service Centre to help customers with digital banking services from November 7.
‘‘Karyn will be available . . .to help any customers who would like some assistance to transition to digital banking and then once a week on Thursday from 17 November. Whether it’s advice on using an ATM, deposit machine or online banking, Karyn is available to lend a hand.’’
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said while the education service and an ATM might not equate to the full service of a branch, Westpac could have left without responding to the community’s concerns.
‘‘It needs to be remembered that Westpac remained in Ranfurly after other banks had left and that Westpac could have left without responding to the community concerns that were raised on the announcement that the branch was closing. It is great that the community, the bank and the council have been able to work together to come up with a solution.’’
Ranfurly retiree John Levido said moving from doing his banking in a physical premises to the atm or online would be tough.
‘‘Everybody’s a bit disappointed about it. It’s just a big readjustment.’’
Levido was pleased to have Westpac digital educator Karyn Petterson on hand to help on Monday.
‘‘If I had to do it on my own it might be a different story,’’ he said.
Petterson would be in Ranfurly every Thursday until Christmas and run drop-in sessions for online banking. She would be situated at the Ranfurly Service Centre from 9.30am to 1.30pm before basing herself at the atm for the rest of the afternoon.
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said she was disappointed Westpac proceeded to close its Fairlie and Ranfurly branches, but she would be watching to ensure the community was not disadvantaged.
Ranfurly retiree John Levido with Westpac digital educator Karyn Petterson on Monday.