Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Elderly Tauranga man takes on Westpac Bank


An 87-year-old Cherrywood resident has collected 460 signatures in two days in an effort to stop the closure of Cherrywood Westpac Bank.

Murray Grimmer sat outside the Cherrywood Four Square on Thursday and Friday last week, and planned to give the petition to Westpac tomorrow morning.

The closure comes as ANZ Bank's Greerton branch also prepares to close its doors.

"What I'm growling about is that 75 per cent of the people that live around here are 70-years or older and they don't want to go online banking because they don't understand it."

He said news of Westpac's closure was a "double blow" after the recently closed ANZ Bank in Cherrywood.

"It'll be the dying knock on Cherrywood.

"Cherrywood was a vibrant little township," he said.

He said he had gotten a good response from shop keepers and shoppers.

"They think it's the worst thing that's ever happened. One lady used some four letter language and knocked me back," Mr Grimmer said.

Mr Grimmer said there was a Kiwibank at Cherrywood, but many residents had only just changed from ANZ Bank to Westpac.

"My wife got caught up in the changeover, she was ANZ and just changed everything over to Westpac."

He said a lot of residents who signed the petition did not have many banking options because the bus route from Cherrywood did not go near the Westpac bank and many older residents did not have drivers licences.

"They're perplexed, they don't know what the hell they're going to do."

He said the eight-hour days collecting signatures was "knocking the hell" out of him.

"I may as well be working on a pick and shovel."

When asked for comment on the closure of the Cherrywood branch and the petition, a Westpac spokesperson said more than 85 per cent of transactions now took place outside of a branch.

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

"This has seen us add 20 Smart ATMs that provide 24/7 service over the last two years, complete nine refurbishments with another five planned before the end of the year in addition to a new site in Auckland."

The spokesperson said a proposal regarding a number of branches was "with staff for their consideration and feedback".

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