- ASB would close 23 branches across NZ, and about 13 branches would move to reduced hours permanently by February 2021.
- A group of banks have also come up with a plan to share regional banking hubs to lower costs of branch operations in small towns, with the trials to begin in late November.
- ASB has made significant investments in its self-service channels in recent years to meet changing customer prospects, and COVID-19 has speeded up that pace.
ASB will close 23 branches in February 2021 and reduce the opening hours of another 13 branches. The Bank would close branches across Auckland, Wellington and some other centres while reduced hours would majorly impact regional communities like Dargaville, Masterton and Ashburton.
The Bank had closed 9 branches permanently in August with 25 branches to open for 3 days each week. Five of the ASB branches that got shut were in Auckland, with branches also closing in Papamoa, Hamilton, Mosgiel and Christchurch.
Craig Sims ASB Executive General Manager for retail banking stated that the pandemic had speeded up a customer behaviour trend that was already happening.
He asserted that ASB had made substantial investments in its self-service platforms in recent years to satisfy changing consumer demand. However, the pandemic has increased the speed of transition, prompting the Bank to reconsider consumer needs.
More than 60,000 consumers used ASB’s digital and online banking services for the first time in 2020, noted Sims. He also added that there would be no job losses due to shut down of branches and the respective staff at those branches would move to online or telephone customer service.
Trial of shared regional banking hubs to begin in November
A group of banks that includes ASB, ANZ, Westpac, BNZ, TSB and Kiwibank have joined forces to trial new hubs for regional customers. The move was made to lower down the costs amid a growing number of branch closures across NZ and maintain goodwill with provincial communities.
As per the NZ Bankers’ Association, the new hubs will open in Opunake, Stoke, Martinborough and Twizel in early 2021 and would feature a support person, Smart ATMs, and online support.
The step was taken as banks have been shutting down their branches in small regional areas, and as more people shift to online banking triggering fears that people would not be able to access cash in certain regions.
ASB branches that would close or operate with reduced hours
ASB would have 86 branches across the country after the closures are completed in March 2021.
The ASB branches set to close by February are St Heliers, Paihia, Whangaparaoa, Lincoln Rd, Devonport, Browns Bay, Birkenhead, Greenlane, Howick, Constellation Drive, Wyndham, Dominion Rd, Manurewa, Cameron Rd, Queenstown, Blockhouse Bay, Morrinsville, Terrace End, Havelock North, Taradale, Ferrymead, Kilbirnie, and Johnsonville.
The ASB branches that are reducing hours from March 1 are Kaikohe, Dargaville, Matamata, Te Awamutu, Mangere Bridge, Masterton, Rangiora, Smales Farm, Ashburton, Cambridge, Westport, Gore and Hawera.