The Bank of New Zealand's decision to close 38 banks over the course of the year, including branches in Wairoa, Waipukurau and Dannevirke, has "disappointed" local mayors.
Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Alex Walker said the removal of frontline services from banks was not new, but would still hurt impacted communities.
"Our BNZ in Waipukurau was already on shortened hours.
"The idea of banks closing their frontline wasn't a surprise, but that doesn't mean it's not still disappointing."
Although she understood the move as a "business decision", she worried about the impact of the closure on the community's "most needy", including elderly and retirees who might struggle to navigate digital platforms.
"But the problem is that the moral responsibility to look after the needs of those customers of theirs, will fall on other people in the community like council, like library staff, like welfare staff.
"I would like BNZ to understand they are creating a cost for communities by laying their obligations on us and that's not fair."
She said community groups would have to help with practical things around setting up phone accounts, online accounts and access to internet.
"It might not be blatantly obvious to them on a website or a digital platform how to solve their problem."
Doubtful BNZ would reverse its decision, she hoped they would put their resources back into the community to help in another way.
BNZ bank users in Wairoa, Waipukurau and Dannevirke will all still have access to Smart ATMs in 24/7 lobby with note and coin deposit services, but would have to travel to larger centres for frontline services.
The BNZ closure will leave Wairoa residents with only one bank - a Westpac - said Mayor Craig Little.
"People haven't brought it on the banks to close. The banks have brought it on themselves. They've created this."
Although he understood the economics of it, he said BNZ had "jumped the gun" as many people still used the frontline services.
"It's a hell of a shame."
Jan Pentecost, president of the Grey Power Federation, said the organisation was "disappointed" at the news.
"We have lobbied relevant agencies since 2016 to ensure, to the best of our ability, that older people are not disadvantaged by bank closures and the transfer of banking business to digital technology because numerous older people do not or cannot use the internet," she said.
"Some live in rural areas with only intermittent or no internet coverage, hearing and sight difficulties mean that telephone discussions with banking staff is challenging, access to banking facilities far removed from their home is difficult because many can no longer drive and all this requires the growing dependence of the elderly to allow others to manage their finances, potentially leading to elder abuse."
BNZ said the decision followed increased customer demand for digital services and its people opting for increased flexibility and remote working.
Chief customer officer Paul Carter said there would be no job losses from the store closures as there were new job opportunities for impacted staff.
The Wairoa branch will close sometime between February and March next year, while the Waipukurau and Dannevirke branches won't close until April and June next year.