He may have fought in World War II, had children and lived in New Zealand since he was 16, but proving his identity is turning out to be tough for an Auckland 94-year-old.

All John Lokes wanted to do was open an account at ANZ Bank after his wife died.

But he doesn't drive or travel overseas, so proving who he was at the bank was tricky.

Loke's daughter Marie Richardson said she took her father into the Henderson branch on Friday and was shocked to discover that neither his expired passport nor his driver's licence, current gold card or credit card was enough to satisfy staff.


"We have a [British] birth certificate but it says if you have an overseas birth certificate you need an 18+ card or driver's licence - but I mean, he's 94," she said.

"I kept saying to them, he's 94, he doesn't have those things, it's just silly.

"He's not driving any more, he's not flying anywhere so he doesn't need a passport.

"He had a passport but it had lapsed so I thought that might have been enough, but no. It's just crazy."

Loke usually banks with the ASB, but because son-in-law Mike Richardson banks with ANZ Bank it was agreed to set up an account with the ANZ.

"He's opening a bank account for his wife's trust account, his wife's died and he wants to invest the money in the trust account.

"There's a problem with all aged people in that none of them have driver's licences or passports because they haven't travelled or driven for years, so there's a real issue of how does a 94-year-old prove who they are?"

Mike said his father-in-law was well ensconced in his community and applying for a card to prove you were over 18 was "just off the wall".

"It's just bizarre. I can just imagine John going down to a nightclub at 94 on Queen St and saying, 'oh I can get in the nightclub now, I've got my 18+ card' ... they even emailed him and said 'we recommend you get an 18+ card'. It's just off the wall.

"He's an ASB customer, but he's been in the community, he's with the Lions ... he's been here for like, eons."

Marie said her father, who used to be a fabric designer for Lane Walker Rudkin, which went into receivership in 2009, was baffled by the situation.

"He was just flummoxed, really. He just said those sorts of things weren't around when he was young. He served in the Army a long time ago ... he's lived in New Zealand since he was 16."

Marie said after repeatedly reminding bank staff that her father was 94 years old, they agreed to file for an exemption - meaning his request to open an account could be applied for without photo identification.

"They just said, they've got this criteria of what you have to have and they said the auditors are very picky on it ... we had everything we could possibly have. I mean, he can't get a Gold Card in New Zealand without having proved his ID, I wouldn't imagine?

"I was dealing with it, so I got rather stroppy. When they said can you apply for an 18+ card for him, I said, 'you've got to be joking, that is just ridiculous, he's a 94-year-old man applying for an 18+ card?'.

"It is funny but it is silly, too, that you have to go through this performance."

An ANZ Bank spokesman said although the bank couldn't comment on specific cases, due to privacy laws, there were customers who did not have the required ID but the ANZ worked them out on a case-by-case basis.

Because of an increase in fraud banks had tightened their security around people opening bank accounts, he said.

"Due to identity theft, fraud, money laundering and anti-terrorism financing threats, banks are required by law to obtain appropriate documentation about a customer to confirm their identity.

"There are three main types of documentation that provide acceptable photo identification – a passport, driver's licence or 18+ card. If a customer doesn't have a passport or driver's licence, an 18+ card is often the easiest option, even if the customer is clearly over 18.

"Banks can incur serious penalties if they fail to comply."

He said the bank invited Lokes and his family to contact the branch to help with their request.