100 BNZ jobs under review but none in Otago

More than 100 Bank of New Zealand jobs are at risk from a restructuring but it appears no Otago jobs are threatened.

In Invercargill, two full-time positions and three part-time positions at the BNZ are at risk.

The only others in the South Island are in Christchurch, where seven branches have people under review, Nelson and Ashburton.

The BNZ is reviewing staff levels at some branches and is in talks with workers as part of a drive to adopt new digital technology in an environment where more customers are doing their banking online.

First Union, the union representing workers at BNZ and the country's other major banks, is condemning the restructuring as unnecessary.

''It's appalling that a wildly profitable bank like BNZ is looking to put so many people out of work,'' First Union spokeswoman Tali Williams said.

The BNZ was proposing job and hours reductions for tellers in more than 30 premises nationwide and every day the number was growing. Changes had already occurred in some stores while other stores were still at the consultation stage.

''BNZ's restructure impacts frontline tellers, the first people to help us when we walk into a branch. This isn't just devastating for those staff who may lose their jobs but it'll impact customers as well. When jobs go, customer service suffers.''

It was an uncertain time for BNZ workers and their families and bank workers across the country were asking ''Who's next'', Ms Williams said.

The BNZ and its peers had been boosting their online channels in recent years as consumers grow more comfortable about transacting online, letting them pare back an expensive physical network of branches.

The bank had 161 retail branches as at March 31, down from 173 a year earlier. At the same time, automatic teller machines increased to 488 from 479 and internet banking customers climbed to 745,000 from 705,000 in March 2016.

That had resulted in a large investment in software development, and the bank attributed a $261million value on goodwill and other intangible assets as at June 30, up from $187million a year earlier.

A BNZ spokeswoman said those changes spurred the lender to look at the make-up of its staff and skills.

''For some this means there are change proposals that are being discussed. We can't go into detail on what that might be, as we need to let the proper consultation process take place with our people in the first instance.''

New Zealand's finance and insurance industries account for about 3% of the workforce, or 75,300 as at June 30, the highest number of people the sector has employed since the data started being collected in 2003.

- Additional reporting by BusinessDesk


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