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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: First Union

FIRST Union has welcomed the announcement that Regional Banking Hubs will be trialled in four regions around New Zealand, and says the trial could offer a useful model for the rest of the country as we seek to maintain face-to-face services, retain good jobs in banking and ensure rural regions don’t lose vital infrastructure as a result of Covid-19.
The year-long trial will run in four regional centres (Twizel, Martinborough, Stoke and Opunake), beginning in November, but FIRST Union National Organiser for Finance, Callum Francis, says other regional branches could benefit from the experiment and any other proposed regional closures of bank branches must not go ahead until this model has been tested.
“We’re glad to see the importance of face-to-face banking being highlighted by the Bankers’ Association, and that banks themselves are aware that regional closures during Covid-19 would be a disaster,” said Mr Francis.
“Regional Banking Hubs represent a collaboration across brands for the good of our communities, and this is a welcome change to the incessant competition between banks that puts undue pressure on rural branches.”
“Banking is about more than money, and many people simply prefer face-to-face, real-life relationships with bank workers in their communities who they’ve sometimes been seeing for years.”
“Important lessons will be learnt from this trial, and that’s why it’s crucial that any other closures of regional banks are halted until its outcome.”
“If we lose infrastructure now – public or private – it will become much harder to recover from Covid-19, and it’s clear that the banks themselves are aware of this and thinking ahead.”
The trial includes ANZ, ASB, Kiwibank, TSB and Westpac, and will be based around a Smart ATM with staff available to assist customers.