Murupara residents plan to meet with bank staff, businesses and the wider community for the second time this week following a productive meeting last night about banking services.
Community leaders including business owners and iwi met with the bank last night following a brazen theft of an NZ Credit Union ATM.
Early last Monday morning, a front-end loader was used to steal an entire ATM from the Pine Drive NZCU building. The money machine was later discovered abandoned and intact in the Kaingaroa Forest.
The bank opened for non-cash transactions the Thursday following the robbery but the ATM has been removed from the NZCU branch and ATM finder on its website.
Murupara residents now have to travel out of town just to withdraw money from their banks. It's 80km to Whakatāne and 60km to Rotorua.
Last night community leaders met to discuss the town's position.
Murupara Community Board chairwoman Alison Silcock said the meeting was attended by a section of the community.
"Credit Union were there. They certainly made no promises but listened to what the community had to say.
"It was a productive meeting, everybody was there for the community including the Credit Union, they are there for the community."
Silcock said the bank had not said no to bringing cash transactions back to the community,
"But the community has to put in place something to protect it [the ATM] because the cash machine has been vandalised frequently in the last few months."
On Friday there will be a meeting at one of the local marae with the community and police.
"It's giving them an opportunity to put forward ideas on what might be a reasonable way we can have a money machine back in Murupara."
Silcock said not having an ATM had affected older people in particular and one member of the community had offered to take people in his van to the Credit Union in Rotorua as a short-term solution.
NZCU Baywide general manager of sales, marketing and channels Andrew Quayle said the meeting was a chance to listen to community leaders and was attended by local Government, business leaders and iwi.
"The community have indicated they want to look at re-launching a community watch initiative. This would help protect the local retailers in future.
"I believe members of the community may also be meeting with police," Quayle said.
When previously asked why the bank stopped offering transactions involving cash, he said the safety of staff was paramount and no decision regarding the future provision of full services had been made.