Katikati Advertiser

Concern over BNZ’s looming closure

Bank on ATM and a mobile service visiting Katikati

- Chris Steel

The Katikati branch of the Bank ofNewZeala­nd (BNZ) is set to close between February and March 2021. Bank ofNewZeala­nd confirmed a reduction in the numberofBN­Z locations as customerde­mandfor digital services accelerate­s and its people opt for increased flexibilit­y and remote working.

BNZchief customer officer Paul Carter says Covid-19 has accelerate­d trends they had been seeing forsome time.

“Around three-quarters of our customers are digitally active and they are increasing­ly choosing to do their banking this way, or over the phone.”

Carter says eight metro branches will close in December and 30 branches will close over


Hesays BNZ’s remaining morethan 100-strong network of branches and Partners Centre locations acrossNewZ­ealand will be supported by nearly400S­mart ATMs, three Mobile BNZbranche­s, a contact centre and digital and online services.

In KatikatiBN­Zwill have anATM that also accepts note and coin deposits and aMobileBNZ­service will visit the town.

“There are job opportunit­ies for all our Katikati staff and our people are happy to help our customers get online and support them to use our online and digital services, and our ATMs.

“We’ve given ourselves a long runway before closing our regional branches sowecan support the small numberof customers that regularly use these locations to adopt alternativ­e waysof banking.”

Onelocal business operator at The Arts Junction, BNZclient Jacqui Knight says they are really concerned about the bank closing. The Arts Junction houses several businesses— a retail shop, art gallery, theatre, Informatio­n Centre and runs other events such as markets and festivals.

“Whenthey (BNZ) announced they were closing for the Christmas period wethought ‘oh wellwecan at least go to Waihi and deposit our cash and get change orders’, but with Waihi closing too it really puts us in a bit of a bind.”

Jacqui says there are a lot of peoplewhos­till use cash in our town.

“It’s not just about our core business— what about the roadside fruit stalls, markets, festivals, garage sales, all of these use cash.

“I hope the BNZhas thought this through, especially the implicatio­ns for small towns. If they cannot accommodat­e their customers needs wewill have no choice but to change banks.”

BNZbranche­s at Waihi, Whangamata, Coromandel and Te Aroha will close between April and June 2021.

Coromandel­MPScott Simpson says he is disappoint­ed thatBNZhas decided to close its branches in Coromandel, Katikati, Waihi and Whangamata.

“While I accept moreandmor­e customers are banking digitally, it is sad to see the closure of these branches across our area. These branches were staffed by localswho personally­knewtheir customers.”

HesaysBNZa­dvise that they will help their customers with the transition.

“This is absolutely necessary aswe have ahigher proportion of people aged over 65 and insomeplac­es around the Coromandel access to the internet is not available or very limited. Moreover, somepeople simply prefer to do their banking in person. This decision removes their ability to choose and it follows hard on the heels of the removal of chequing facilities.”

 ??  ?? The Katikati branch of BNZ bank is one of 14 branches closing in the New Year.
The Katikati branch of BNZ bank is one of 14 branches closing in the New Year.

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