Putaruru robbed of its banks
Weeks after Westpac announced plans to close its Putaruru branch the South Waikato town’s residents have been dealt another blow.
BNZ has announced a proposal to also close its Putaruru branch and is consulting staff.
An employee, who did not want to be named, said staff have been given until November 9 to ‘‘justify their jobs and why the branch should stay open’’.
They said they’ve been advised that BNZ, which has been in Putaruru since 1941, intends to close in just under four weeks.
That could mean it’s three staff are out of jobs and customers may have to open accounts elsewhere if they don’t have internet or telephone banking.
‘‘BNZ have picked up a lot of new clients due to the recent announcement of the closure of Westpac. [It’s] closure has upset a lot of people who have struggled to change their accounts over to BNZ,’’ the BNZ worker said.
If the move goes ahead Putaruru will be left with only ANZ and Kiwibank.
BNZ retail regional manager Mark Lancaster said the potential closure has been sparked in part by a need to earthquake strengthen the branch’s building and declining customer numbers.
‘‘We have been operating from a port-a-bank in Putaruru since April 11 this year because our store needed upgrading for earthquake requirements,’’ he said.
‘‘This ongoing building issue, combined with a significant decline in transactions in Putaruru in recent years, led us to review operations.’’
Lancaster said the bank was constantly reviewing store locations.
‘‘Our customers are increasingly choosing BNZ’S digital banking channels,’’ he said.
BNZ communications manager Janine Ogier said new customers are being informed of the proposal.
She said those unfamiliar with internet and telephone banking only need to ask for help.
‘‘Customers just need to make an appointment. There is free internet access available at Putaruru Library and a BNZ ATM at Z Putaruru which is open 6am to 10pm,’’ she said.
Putaruru is BNZ’S only store closure proposal
South Waikato Mayor Jenny Shattock said the announcement was ‘‘very disappointing’’ and she had arranged to meet with Lancaster to discuss options.
BNZ’S Putaruru branch could close.