A trial of Regional Banking Hubs to test the demand for basic banking services in regional communities will begin in November.
The trial, which includes ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Kiwibank, TSB and Westpac, will run in four regional centres: Twizel, Martinborough, Stoke and Opunake. Three of the sites will have community partners, who will host the Hub and provide staff services.
The Hubs will be based around a Smart ATM that provides for deposits and withdrawals. Other basic transactions will be available on tablets and phones, with staff to assist. Staff will not be able to provide financial advice or assist with individual bank products such as home loans, but can help direct customers to phone or internet banking.
The year-long trial was set to begin in May but was delayed by Covid-19.
“I am delighted to see that this unique partnership of six banks looking at innovative ways to support smaller communities is ready to go,” says New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Roger Beaumont.
“During the Covid-19 lockdowns, banks helped thousands of New Zealanders get better at using online and mobile banking. Those customers aren’t looking back. However, we know that some customers still prefer face-to-face banking and that’s what this Banking Hub trial is designed to test.”
The six participating banks have voluntarily chosen not to close regional branches since the trial was announced in September 2019. This commitment will continue until the end of the year. From 1 January 2021, the six participating banks will not close any branches or ATMs within the boundaries of the district councils hosting the Hubs, for the remainder of the 12 month trial.
The Banking Hub locations, community partners and launch dates are as follows:
Twizel: The ANZ branch on Market Place will be converted to Twizel Banking Hub for a year. Opens 17 November.
Martinborough: Martinborough Banking Hub will be hosted in the Waihinga Community Centre in partnership with Destination Wairarapa. Opens 27 November.
Stoke: Stoke Banking Hub will partner with Hardy St Pharmacy (John’s Stoke Pharmacy) in Putaitai Street. Opens 3 December.
Opunake: Opunake Banking Hub will be hosted in the Opunake Library Plus, in partnership with South Taranaki District Council. Opens 7 December.