Government backs action on regional banking

New Zealand’s largest banks will trial regional banking hubs and have agreed not to close any branches outside of main centres while the trial is under way.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the announcement is fantastic news for people in smaller towns who have been left feeling cut off as more banking moves online.

“I hope this will provide a solution for both the banks and local communities where it may not be economical for individual banks to maintain a branch.

“I’d like to thank the banks and the Bankers’ Association for working with the Government on this initiative which will be implemented in early 2020,” Grant Robertson says.

Minister for Regional Economic Development Shane Jones says this Government is committed to supporting the regions and the announcement is the first sign of hope for regional communities that have lost their face to face banking facilities.

“Whānau, personal and business finances require close contact with a bank and many Kiwis prefer face to face contact over online services to manage their financial matters. For many people in regional New Zealand that choice had been taken away from them.

“I think the participating banks will be surprised by the enthusiasm with which these four communities embrace the regional banking hubs that will open next year and I am optimistic these hubs are the first of many,” Shane Jones says.

The hubs will be trialled in Martinborough, Opunake, Stoke and Twizel starting early 2020.

The participating banks – Kiwibank, BNZ, TSB, ANZ, ASB and Westpac – will not close regional branches during the trial. This excludes co-located Kiwibank/NZ Post premises.