ANZ latest bank to propose branch closures

Could ANZ be following in Wespac's footsteps?
DAVID WHITE/FAIRFAX NZ

Could ANZ be following in Wespac's footsteps?

ANZ is proposing to close "low volume" bank branches in small town New Zealand.

First Union national organiser Tali Williams said ANZ was consulting on a proposal to close five branches including Massey University in Palmerston North, Milton (50 kilometres south of Dunedin), Ngaruawahia, Otorohanga and Te Aroha.

ANZ - the country's largest bank - also closes its branch in Taihape on October 14.

The proposal comes just weeks after it was revealed Westpac was proposing to close 19 bank branches in mostly rural centres.

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A decision from Westpac was expected next week, she said.

Westpac branches in Te Aroha and Otorohanga are among those that could be closed.

If ANZ and goes ahead with the closures Ngaruawahia and Milton would be left without a bank branch, she said.

About 20 to 25 employees would be affected, she said.

ANZ spokesman Stefan Herrick said the bank was proposing to close some "low volume" branches and was consulting with staff on the future of their roles and options should the branch close.

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All staff would be offered another role with ANZ elsewhere and the bank would pay relocation costs.

Staff which did not relocate would be offered severance.

"We have worked hard to maintain our branch presence but we consider these branches are no longer viable, a situation that is unlikely to improve as the number of customers using branches continues to drop steadily," Herrick said.

In most locations it would leave an ATM so customers had access to cash and could make deposits.

Banking customers' preferences were changing rapidly with the vast majority using internet or mobile banking, he said.

"The average ANZ customer uses mobile banking one to two times a day and visits a branch only two times a year."

The number of customers using internet banking increased 147 per cent between 2013 and 2016 while the number using ANZ goMoney had increased 427 per cent.

 - Stuff

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