Kiwibank letting down older customers
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: email@example.com, or ring mob: 0274-805-834.