Credit union shuts doors

NICOLA STEWART
Last updated 10:26 28/11/2012

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New Zealand Credit Union North last week closed its Matamata branch leaving three people without jobs and members feeling “deserted”.

The closure was a result of an intended merger between NZCU North and First Credit Union, who cover a similar area.

This means NZCU North will transfer all assets and liabilities, including its membership, to First Credit Union..

Acting chief executive Peter Iles said the Matamata branch was “not economical” and there was no chance at this stage it would reopen.

“Some hard decisions have to be made,” said Mr Iles.

“We have taken into account the members and their feelings, however we have to consider all 27,500 of our members.”

On the Chronicle Facebook page, member Naomi Tuhakaraina said she had receieved no warning from NZCU North before the closure.

They didnt let anyone know – not even the people that work there.

“Left stranded and deserted by my own bank!”

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The nearest branch was now in Te Aroha and members could still access their accounts online and over the phone, said Mr Iles.

“Members will also benefit from lower fees and higher interest rates with First Credit Union.

“Whilst any job losses are regrettable, they are unfortunatley unavoidable as we seek to future-proof First Credit Union for the benefit of our members.”

Another member, Ngaire Baker, said on Facebook: “We all know they’re merging... but why close the doors on a branch that’s needed by a lot of people?”

NZCU North branches in Tokoroa, Turangi, Te Puke and Papamoa were also closed and a further 11 jobs lost.

Seven more people lost their jobs after the closure of a small NZCU North administration centre in Mt Maunganui.

Staff had been involved in a consultation process leading up to the closures and management had to act quickly to preserve the NZCU North credit rating, said Mr Iles.

- Matamata Chronicle

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