Major banks “abandoning regional New Zealand”: Union

by NZ Adviser22 Sep 2016
Westpac has confirmed it will close 19 branches across New Zealand in early November and ANZ is planning to potentially shut down six more branches after announcing the closure of its Ngaruawahia branch.

“Our members in the branches are asking ‘who’s next,’” said FIRST Union national organizer, Tali Williams.

“ANZ is consulting on closure proposals at branches across the country. Our members are nervous because some of the redeployment options on the table are unrealistic.

“ANZ branch workers in towns like Milton and Hokitika are expected to take up redeployment in Christchurch if their branch closes. But Christchurch is more than three hours’ drive away.

“Meanwhile, towns like Te Aroha and Otorohanga are taking a double hit with Westpac shutting up shop and ANZ looking to do the same,” said Williams.

“The major banks appear to be systematically abandoning regional New Zealand.”

Westpac said the closures were part of adapting to the rise in online transactions by customers, according to the NZ Herald

The bank said in a statement that it will be open to discussion with community leaders on the submissions and feedback given by staff and communities. 

"Customers ... expect 24/7 access to their banking - currently more than 85 per cent of service transactions take place outside of a branch," Westpac said.

"Over the last five years, online transactions increased by 61 per cent and in the last year online logins via a mobile device have increased by 33 per cent."

Westpac branches closing:
Kamo, Cherrywood in Tauranga, Broadway Avenue in Palmerston North, Bishopdale in Christchurch, Gardens in Dunedin, Waikanae, Carterton, Raglan, Ranfurly, Te Aroha, Fendalton Mall in Christchurch, Putaruru, Whangamata, Takaka, Stoke, Wainuiomata, Te Anau, Fairlie and Otorohanga.

ANZ branch closing:
Ngaruawahia

ANZ branches proposed to close:
Massey University (Palmerston North), Milton, Hokitika, Waitara, Te Aroha and Otorohanga.

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