Kiwibank avoids franchises

Act MP Rodney Hide said the refusal by the three Hawkes Bay Books & More stores to host a branch showed how anaemic Kiwibank's launch would be. There had been ""huge slippage"" in Kiwibank's opening schedule because of problems with franchises. Mr. Hide said it was staggering NZ Post had promised Parliament it would have 300 bank branches by May without having already signed 170 franchises, which were private businesses.

The New Zealand Herald
January 28, 2001

Kiwibank avoids franchises

The first Kiwibank branches will open in Hawkes Bay next month, but none will be in NZ Post franchises.

Kiwibank, NZ Post's banking enterprise, opens seven stores in a pilot scheme in Palmerston North and Hawkes Bay in mid-February, before openings farther afield.

But the fledgling bank, being started with $80 million of taxpayer money, will open only at NZ Post corporate branches. No franchises, such as those in Books & More stores, will be involved.

The owners of the Books & More stores in Gisborne, Napier and Hastings declined to comment yesterday, but the Business Herald understands they are unhappy with the deal offered by Kiwibank.

This month the advisory body representing the 34 Books & More stores said operating as a Kiwibank branch would be financially risky. The 53c transaction fee was too low.

Other independent franchisees are also reportedly dissatisfied with the fee.

Of NZ Post's 300 outlets, about 170 are franchises.

Act MP Rodney Hide said the refusal by the three Hawkes Bay Books & More stores to host a branch showed how anaemic Kiwibank's launch would be.

There had been "huge slippage" in Kiwibank's opening schedule because of problems with franchises.

Mr. Hide said it was staggering NZ Post had promised Parliament it would have 300 bank branches by May without having already signed 170 franchises, which were private businesses.

Asked if the three Books & More stores were to have been part of the pilot, Kiwibank spokesman Bruce Thompson said: "I don't want to go there. For the pilots, we are only operating it in corporate shops."

The pilot would continue until the end of March, and more banks would be opened in April and May.

Kiwibank aims to open a branch at all 300 NZ Post outlets.

nzherald.co.nz/kiwibank


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