ANZ branch closure a blow for Taihape

By Lin Ferguson -

The ANZ bank in Taihape will close on October 14.

ANZ spokesman Stefan Herrick said the closure came after careful consideration.

It had been decided it was not viable to keep the Taihape branch open, he said.

"We have worked hard to maintain a branch presence but in recent years the banking preferences of our customers have changed."

With most customers now choosing to do their day-to-day banking via internet banking or the ANZ goMoney app, fewer people were using the Hautapu St branch, he said.

Mr Herrick said the average ANZ customer used mobile banking up to twice a day, and visited a branch about twice a year.

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

ANZ were consulting with staff on the future of their roles and their potential options.

"We will be leaving an ATM and a deposit box in Taihape so customers have access to cash and are able to make deposits.

"If staff are unable to, or choose not to, take up a position elsewhere they will be offered severance."

Taihape Community Board chairwoman Michelle Fannin said it was another horrible blow for the large elderly community in the town.

"These elderly people have probably been banking with ANZ all their banking lives."

Ms Fannin said part of her felt guilty because she was an internet banking user, and knew that the rising number of internet banking users had tolled the death knell for small rural branches.

"But it's hard for our older people," she said. "We lost our hospital, we don't have a rest home, and to expect these oldies to drive to Marton to get to the nearest branch is very hard."

Ms Fannin said at least there would be a deposit box at the BP station for cheques.

"But as far as I know it will only be cleared once a week."

There were seven staff at the branch "and of course, being a small town, we all know each other", she said.

"It's always hard when something like this happens. Another closure, people leaving town; it's hard on rural towns these days."

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