Bank of New Zealand says it will keep all of its regional branches open for at least the next three years bucking an industry trend which has seen banks shut up shop around the country.

Last year New Zealand banks collectively cut 44 branches from their networks with all the major banks making cut-backs.

Figures from KPMG's FIPS Banking report show the total number of bank branches in New Zealand fell from 1024 to 980 between 2017 and 2018.

The moves have drawn the ire of Regional Development minister Shane Jones who last year complained to Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr and said banks should be required to maintain a certain level of service given how much they make in profits.


The big four Australian owned banks made around $5 billion in profits last year.

But BNZ, which last year reduced its branch number by seven, has said it will keep its regional branch network open for at least the next three years.

The bank currently has 85 branches in the regions. It classifies regional branches as everything outside the major metros of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga, Dunedin.

Paul Carter, BNZ chief customer officer, said: ""We are committed to keeping our extensive regional branch network open until at least 2022.

"We are very focused on being accessible and available to all our customers. Across New Zealand, our branches play an important part in us 'being there' for communities and we will continue to support those that we're established in."

Banks have put closures down to the rise in people doing their banking online rather than going into branches.

Carter said while many day to day transactions are now done digitally it was seeing customers seeking out branch teams to help them with buying a new house, setting up KiwiSaver or to help them learn how to use digital tools.

"It's important to get the balance right between having a physical presence where customers can get great advice as well as the digital tools that support seamless everyday banking. We are committed to doing both," Carter said.


When it came to its urban branches Carter said it would be "responsive to the changing shape of cities."