Ki­wibank let­ting down older cus­tomers

Horowhenua Chronicle - - OPINION - By TERRY HEMMINGSEN Pres­i­dent Grey Power Horowhenua

When Ki­wibank was first launched in 2002, with 211 branches opened na­tion­wide by June 30 of that year, many older New Zealan­ders flocked to move away from the Aussie banks to what be­came af­fec­tion­ately known as “Our Bank”.

Those many loyal and com­mit­ted older cus­tomers of Ki­wibank have now been sadly marginalised and let down for their loy­alty and com­mit­ment to “Our Bank”. Many of those early, older cus­tomers have reached a stage in their lives where they are su­per­an­nu­i­tants. They are on the pen­sion. But in a move to max­imise prof­its for their share­hold­ers, New Zealand Post Lim­ited, New Zealand Su­per­an­nu­a­tion and the Ac­ci­dent Com­pen­sa­tion Cor­po­ra­tion, Ki­wibank have failed to con­sider those once loyal cus­tomers.

On March 18 many cus­tomers re­ceived an email stat­ing that, “on March 1, 2018, we have changed a few of our fees”.

This was fol­lowed by the an­nounce­ment that, “From March 1, 2018, cheque and de­posit books (of 50 cheques and de­posit slips) cost $15 up front”.

This was fol­lowed by the ad­vice from Ki­wibank that cus­tomers should “con­sider mov­ing to elec­tronic pay­ment meth­ods” and “con­sider re­ceiv­ing pay­ments elec­tron­i­cally”.

It is all very well for Ki­wibank to sug­gest that peo­ple use elec­tronic / in­ter­net bank­ing, but Horowhenua Grey Power knows from mem­ber­ship data that they have col­lected over the past 18 months that less than 50 per cent of their mem­bers have in­ter­net or email con­nec­tiv­ity. From re­search un­der­taken by Horowhenua Grey Power it has been es­tab­lished that this per­cent­age is a na­tion­wide trend. Older peo­ple are fear­ful of in­ter­net bank­ing and given the propen­sity for elec­tronic bank­ing scams and the costs of op­er­at­ing a com­puter and Wi-Fi, these num­bers are hardly sur­pris­ing. What is even worse about this sit­u­a­tion is that none of the other banks, in­clud­ing all of the “Aussie” banks, charge for cheque books or de­posit slip books, pro­vided that the ac­count holder is a pen­sioner and that all of their ‘su­per’ is de­posited into the ac­count held at that bank.

In dis­cus­sions that Horowhenua Grey Power has had with Ki­wibank, they have en­deav­oured to deny, con­fuse and even to mis­lead the callers about this sit­u­a­tion. How­ever, a search of the Ki­wiBank web­site makes it clear that these charges to in­di­vid­ual cheque ac­count hold­ers do ap­ply, par­tic­u­larly to pen­sion­ers.

Horowhenua Grey Power is call­ing on the man­age­ment and board of Ki­wiBank to re­verse this charg­ing regime, par­tic­u­larly as it ap­plies to pen­sion­ers who put all of their pen­sion into Ki­wibank ac­counts. Al­ter­na­tively, Horowhenua Grey Power is rec­om­mend­ing to its mem­bers and to all pen­sion­ers who have Ki­wiBank cheque ac­counts to ac­tively con­sider mov­ing to an­other bank — TSB, Co-Op­er­a­tive Bank or (for­give us) even an Aussie one!

■ For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion and de­tails, con­tact: Terry Hemmingsen, email: terry.hemmingsen@gmail.com, or ring mob: 0274-805-834.

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