A woman was shocked to be asked to remove her hat at the Whanganui branch of KiwiBank yesterday.

Rosemary Baragwanath visited the Victoria Avenue branch to ask for a transaction summary and was offended when she was asked to remove her hat at the counter.

"I have had medical treatments that caused some hair loss and I don't like to remove my hat," she told the Chronicle.

"I don't see why anyone should have to remove items of their clothing - it's ridiculous."
KiwiBank public relations manager Bruce Thompson apologised on behalf of the bank for causing offence.

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"We ask all customers to remove hats, dark glasses and anything that obscures their faces when they come into our branches," he said.

"It is standard procedure to protect customers and staff, and there are signs in all branches advising customers of the regulations."

Mr Thompson said the alarming number of walk-in crimes in banks means that security was paramount.

"People present stolen cards and documents and we need clear images from the security cameras for police.

"It is standard procedure and we are not intending to single anyone out.

"When people refuse to remove items, it usually means we are in trouble but in this case, the teller decided the customer was not a security risk and proceeded with the transaction.

Rosemary said she had not seen the signs at the Whanganui branch.
"It is an appalling way to treat their customers -quite frankly, I think it is crap.

"Are we all to be under surveillance everywhere we go?"

Having joined KiwiBank because she wanted to support a New Zealand owned bank, Rosemary said she is likely to take her business elsewhere.