Residents upset last bank branch closing

Riverton resident Wayne Hill (centre) speaks to an unknown bank member about the closure of the last bank in Riverton as a security guard looks on. Photo: Giordano Stolley
Riverton resident Wayne Hill (centre) speaks to an unknown bank member about the closure of the last bank in Riverton as a security guard looks on. Photo: Giordano Stolley
The last branch of any bank in the Southland town of Riverton is set to close next month and some of the town’s residents are not happy about it.

Riverton ANZ customer Wayne Hill yesterday entered the bank colourfully dressed and holding chains in his hand in a sign of protest, while about 20 people cheered him on.

Two security guards were stationed outside the bank and a senior person from the branch first spoke to Mr Hill before allowing him to enter the bank.

The branch is scheduled to close in early March, although the automated teller machine will remain.

Wendy Lopes, who owns a gallery in the small seaside community, said most of her clients did not use online banking. She said town folk were pensioners.

Resident Rozann Hodge was another resident who was not happy at the closure.

‘‘I am one of the old school. What am I going to do now? ANZ have made their dollars off us and now they leave.’’

Mr Hill said not just Riverton residents would be affected by the bank closure but those from surrounding communities too.

‘‘They can call you out for being a little bit in arrears, but they can’t inform you that they are closing the branch.’’

A statement released by the bank said that monthly transactions at the branch had fallen by 8% over the previous year and that there were 75% fewer transactions at the Riverton branch than at the average ANZ branch.

‘‘Due to declining branch transactions, the difficult decision has been made after consulting with staff to close the ANZ Riverton branch from 8 March, 2019.’’

The one permanent staff member would be transferred to Invercargill.

According to the 2013 census, Riverton had a population of 1431 people.

giordano.stolley@odt.co.nz

Comments

ANZ say Riverton has 75% fewer transactions than their average branch. I'll bet that the average ANZ branch has way more than one full time staff member too. They are really saying Riverton is too small and doesn't make them enough profit.

This is just the latest miserly action of one of the Australian big four banks. The royal commission in Australia proved these banks only care about one thing and that is profit.
When the people in New Zealands major towns stop banking with these banks they might start changing their behaviour. Until then nothing will stop them boosting their profits at the expense of everyone else.

Before people start blaming ANZ (and no i do not work for them or am even a customer) you need to look at one important fact.

They are the last bank!!! They lasted longer than the others and tried to stay where others did not. It's an unfortunate sign of the times but its not the first town to lose all its banks and I fear, it wont be the last.

The reality is that banks are businesses and profit is bottom line. Would you take your business to a place it makes no money? Yes they make money but not from Riverton. They are not a social service.

Any blame needs to be at the governments who privatized banking and have led us here.