Two Tauranga BNZ branches set to close
BNZ will close two of its Tauranga branches on Christmas Eve this year – in Mount Maunganui and Greerton.
The bank will close another 36 branches across the country over the next seven months, despite an earlier commitment not to shut any regional branches until at least 2022.
Six other branches will close on December 24, 2020 and another 14 will close between February and March.
A further 16 will close between April and June.
In 2019, BNZ's chief customer officer Paul Carter told Stuff it was focused on being accessible and available to all customers and that was why it was committing to keep all regional branches open until at least 2022.
But he says the pandemic has altered plans.
“We don’t take this decision lightly. We made our commitment on regional branches in good faith. Not only was it a commitment to the communities we serve, it was also a commitment to our people, as closing a branch used to mean losing jobs.
“However, COVID changed everything. Our customers have embraced digital services and tools and our bankers are serving customers irrespective of where they are. We’ve shown we can work from anywhere and there are job opportunities for all our people - it reflects the ongoing shift in how our customers are choosing to bank with us.”
He says the pandemic has accelerated trends that had been seen for some time. About three-quarters of customers were “digitally active”.
“The majority of our customers are banking online and our talented bankers are often waiting in empty branches for customers that simply do not arrive,” he says.
“Branches will still have a role in how we serve our customers. We will continue to invest in modern customer centres to help customers take advantage of online banking and our digital tools, and where they can access specialist services.”
He says BNZ would work with the bankers in the branches affected to find new opportunities within the bank. Every affected employee would be offered another position.
“We’ve given ourselves a long runway before closing our regional branches so we can support the small number of customers that regularly use these locations to adopt alternative ways of banking.
“Our mobile branch, Mobile BNZ, worked well in the Manawatu-Whanganui and Northland regions bringing banking services and financial support to remote communities, and we will be adding additional vehicles to our fleet to enable more communities to receive financial support,” he says.
Paul says changes to its branch network were part of a wider review of all BNZ locations to consolidate its workforce.
“Our people have embraced the flexibility of remote working. It suits our customers and our people and changes to our office space reflect that,” he says.
In Wellington, work is now under way on BNZ’s new site at Whitmore Street to open in 2023. Once complete it will bring together BNZ employees from three other existing sites.
Metro branches to close on December 24, 2020 (Eight branches)
Branches closing between February – March 2021 (14 branches)
Branches closing between April and June 2021 (16 branches)