Anger at Kiwibank closures

Kiwibank exists in two forms: either as a franchise, typically run by a small business owner out of a dairy or stationery shop, or as part of a corporate branch of NZ Post. In some cases, NZ Post has shut a Kiwibank franchise and directed customers to one of its corporate branches. In others, where a franchisee has opted out, customers have received letters from New Zealand Post blaming the closure on the franchisee, but has not said if it has sought a replacement.

http://www.stuff.co.nz
December 20, 2009

Anger at Kiwibank closures
Esther Harward

Kiwibank – the brand that brought local banking back into fashion – is axing more than 20 of its branches, angering customers who bought into its patriotism-based advertising.

The closures come as Kiwibank instigator, Jim Anderton, credits the bank with reversing a trend towards shutting small branches.

David Tripe, director of Massey University's Centre for Banking Studies, said Kiwibank was undermining its own public relations pitch. "Essentially they're looking to close branches for the same reason as all the other banks closed them in the 1990s."

Since launching in 2002, Kiwibank has attracted 650,000 customers. Its advertising uses World War II-era imagery to push a theme of resistance to foreign invaders – the overseas-owned banks, which shut more than 1300 New Zealand branches in the 1980s and 1990s.

Since January, Kiwibank's owner, New Zealand Post, has either shut, or announced plans to shut, at least 20 of its about 300 branches, prompting public meetings, petitions and demonstrations.

Kiwibank exists in two forms: either as a franchise, typically run by a small business owner out of a dairy or stationery shop, or as part of a corporate branch of NZ Post. In some cases, NZ Post has shut a Kiwibank franchise and directed customers to one of its corporate branches. In others, where a franchisee has opted out, customers have received letters from New Zealand Post blaming the closure on the franchisee, but has not said if it has sought a replacement.

Kiwibank spokesman Bruce Thompson said two branches had opened in the past year. Another 29 had been upgraded or relocated, or both.

Anderton said Kiwibank's network was still the biggest of any bank operating in New Zealand. That included more than 30 towns and suburbs where there were no other banks.

Since Kiwibank opened, not a single overseas-owned bank had shut a branch in New Zealand. The closures were "what happens with a modern business".

Tripe said Kiwibank faced the same challenge as any other bank in making branches work – generating enough revenue to surpass running costs. In the case of the 20 closures, Kiwibank had responded no differently to the major banks.

KIWIBANKS AXED
(Including closures of actual buildings, as well as downgrades of PostShops offering Kiwibank and bill payment services.)

Mahora, Hastings

Glendene, Auckland

Te Puni, Lower Hutt

Henderson, Auckland

Braid Rd, St Andrews, Hamilton

H&J Smith, Invercargill

Balmoral, Auckland

Sandringham, Auckland

Papatoetoe South, Auckland

Greenwoods Corner, Auckland

Redwood Downs, Christchurch

Onekawa, Napier

Beckenham, Christchurch

Hereford St, Christchurch

Waimairi Rd, Ilam, Christchurch

Hokowhitu, Palmerston North

Awapuni, Palmerston

North Books and More, High St, Lower Hutt

Linwood, Christchurch

Petone, Wellington

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3179238/Anger-at-Kiwibank-closures


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