ANZ Bank will close its Wairoa branch next month, a move that will affect five staff and leave customers reliant on mobile and internet banking.
This will be the third closure of a Hawke's Bay branch in a year, and is the latest
in a string of closures of ANZ branches in smaller centres around New Zealand since 2016.
Yesterday an ANZ spokeswoman said they had worked hard to maintain the Wairoa branch, but it was not sustainable to keep it open as customers' preferences had changed.
"The number of customers using the ANZ Wairoa branch has been declining and this follows a national trend. Transactions have declined 6.5 per cent over the past year alone and most Wairoa ANZ customers now use internet banking and goMoney."
A Smart ATM would remain in Wairoa so customers could deposit, withdraw and transfer money between accounts.
"All five staff have the opportunity to be redeployed to roles in other locations should they wish, and ANZ will fund their relocation," the spokeswoman said. "For instance, one staff member has confirmed they will be employed at another branch in the Hawke's Bay."
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said they felt let down by the banks closure, but were not completely surprised by it.
"We've been dreading this day," he said, adding they had noticed the closures of other branches, and increased move online for banking services.
However he said he was disappointed the bank had not been loyal to its staff and customers, as they had been to it over the years.
"They'll lose customers that's for sure".
As well as the affected staff, Mr Little said the town, population 4250, would feel the impact of the business leaving - it would be an empty shop in the CBD, and would affect those customers who did not how to do their banking online, or had limited internet access.
The move was also slammed by First Union General Secretary Dennis Maga, who said they were disappointed "to hear of yet another bank closure in this region".
"Banks are often a major source of employment in smaller areas so it's a double hit to those who have been let go," he said.
"It also has an impact on the wider community. Not everyone uses internet banking and older people especially will struggle with simple finances without a nearby bank. It often means people have to travel out of town."
The ANZ spokeswoman said the company had told customers about the closure, and that those who would like to learn about internet or phone banking could visit the branch or speak to the call centre.
"We want to help and support them with this change."
In late 2016 ANZ announced it was consulting on plans to close a number of "low volume" branches. In March 2017 two other ANZ branches in Hawke's Bay were closed - in Marewa, and one of its two central Hastings branches.
In December the Pahiatua ANZ branch also shut it doors.
Once the Wairoa ANZ closes there will be three other major bank chains in the town - Westpac, BNZ and Kiwibank.
The Wairoa ANZ branch could not be reached for comment.