Kiwibank proposes to close more branches
Kiwibank says seven more of its branches may close after Covid-19 accelerated the trend towards digital banking.
The state-owned bank has reported a $55 million profit after tax for the six months to December, up $4m on the same period last year.
Kiwibank says changes in customer preference and lease reviews had prompted the closures which, if they went ahead, would take place over the next year.
The branches affected are Balclutha, Gisborne, The Palms in Christchurch, Matamata, Onehunga, Waihi, and Waipukurau, affecting 23 full-time equivalent jobs.
However, there was the possibility of staff being redeployed through flexible working or other measures, a spokeswoman said.
The proposal was still subject to staff and community consultation, with a decision due at the end of March.
Coromandel MP Scott Simpson says Kiwibank’s proposal to close its branch in Waihi is just another nail in the coffin for retail banking in the Coromandel.
“Kiwibank is meant to be the people’s bank, but now it seems like it’s the bean counters in Wellington who are calling the shots,” says Simpson.
Coromandel MP Scott Simpson. File photo.
“While the statistics are plain to see and less people across the country are banking in-person, this decision removes the choice from many in our community who prefer to handle their finances face-to-face with bank staff.
“The decision to close the Waihi branch, along with six others around New Zealand, follows the trend that banks are putting their commercial interests ahead of their customers.
“Relationships between customers and staff cannot be replicated by online banking. It is disappointing for the Waihi community and comes on the back of last year’s announcement that the local BNZ branch would close.”
Kiwibank advises they will engage with the community before a final decision is reached.