ASB is shutting down nine of its branches across the country, and is reducing the working hours of 25 others to three days a week.
It says the move is part of its increased focus on helping customers online and through the phone, and the increased interest in digital banking and online communication channels over the COVID-19 lockdown. The bank will retain all of its branch staff, and will be recruiting for 150 new roles to provide advice and guidance to customers.
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ASB general manager retail banking Craig Sims says that the bank has seen a significant decline in people coming into physical branches to carry out their transactions, with most customers preferring the ease and simplicity of transacting online.
“Kiwis' expectations of their bank are changing. In the past five years for example, at ASB we've seen a 42 per cent decline in branch transactions, and now 85 per cent of our personal customers prefer the convenience of our online and mobile services,” he said.
“Add to that, since lockdown in March around 13,500 customers have used our digital channels for the first time to do their banking and they're continuing to do so.”
The nine branches to be closed permanently have been shut since the start of lockdown. They are in Auckland Hospital, Parnell, Ellerslie, Mount Albert, Ronwood Avenue, Waikato University, Papamoa, Barrington and Mosgiel.
25 other branches across the country will be operating on reduced hours from August 3, with Sims saying that some branches got only a handful of visitors per day. He says that team members working in reduced hour branches will spend the remaining days helping customers through other channels.
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“Some, for example, serve only 900 customers a year so that's only two to three a day,” he said.
“There is also a branch nearby for customers to use. Our decision is motivated by a desire to provide a better overall personal experience for customers and our people.”
“Our team is an important part of this change and no jobs will be lost as a result of these changes,” he added. “Team members will have the opportunity to move to another branch or other roles within ASB, supported by training to provide more specialised guidance and advice.”