Dig­i­tal ed­u­ca­tor for branch­less bankers

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN AND RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

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.

RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

Ran­furly re­tiree John Le­v­ido with West­pac dig­i­tal ed­u­ca­tor Karyn Pet­ter­son on Mon­day.

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