Proposal to close bank puts elderly out
The list of empty shops down Putaruru’s main drag continues to grow as Westpac proposes to close.
The bank recently announced they were looking to close five Waikato branches, including the Putaruru one.
Resident Stephen Pearce said if the Westpac branch did go it would be the sixth vacant shop along Princes St.
Pearce and his family had owned a shoe store on the main street for 49-years.
‘‘Putaruru was a boom town back then because of the saw mills and the farming ... it’s disappointing to see what’s happening now.
‘‘Sadly the smaller country towns are dying.’’
Pearce said he was lucky that he could drive to other centres to do his banking, but others didn’t have that luxury.
‘‘There are elderly that have no way of getting to other towns.’’
Marion De La Haye lives in an elderly village and said she would find it inconvenient if Westpac was to go.
De La Haye has banked with Westpac for the last 30 to 40 years.
She said she rarely drives out of town so would have to consider changing banks if the town loses its branch.
‘‘From an elderly perspective it will make life a lot more difficult. There are people who don’t drive and are not computer-literate ... this leaves them no other option than to change banks which would be a very stressful process.’’
De La Haye did use the computer but not for payments as she was too frightened she’d add an extra nought on the end of her transfer.
She said she enjoys going into the bank and paying over the counter.
‘‘I’m not a kid, I’m 82 and sometimes it’s nice to go in and receive some help lovely.’’
South Waikato District Council Mayor Neil Sinclair said he has banked with Westpac for more than 60-years and would be forced to move his business elsewhere if the branch closed.
Sinclair said the area was trying to produce economic growth and a big corporation like Westpac pulling out didn’t help.
The Putaruru Westpac is one of 19 branches on the chopping block.
Confirmation on which will close is expected by the end of September. ... the ladies are
Westpac branch could close.