Blockhouse Bay will lose its last bank when the ASB Bank branch closes in February 2021. The earlier closure of Westpac and ANZ led to the loss of some foot traffic in the village as people from further west no longer stopped to do their banking, according to one retailer.
ASB is set to close 23 branches nationwide, with a further 13 branches permanently moving to reduced hours. The branches will close in February.
The ASB branches set to close by February are Paihia, Whangaparaoa, Devonport, Birkenhead, Browns Bay, Greenlane, Howick, Constellation Drive, St Heliers, Wyndham, Lincoln Rd, Dominion RD, Manurewa, Blockhouse Bay, Cameron Rd, Morrinsville, Havelock North, Taradale, Terrace End, Kilbirnie, Johnsonville, Ferrymead and Queenstown.
ASB’s executive general manager Retail Banking, Craig Sims, said the pandemic had accelerated a customer behaviour trend that was already well under way. More than 60,000 ASB customers used the bank’s digital and online banking services for the first time this year, he said.
Age Concern chief executive Stephanie Clare said she had discussed with ASB the impact the closures would a have on older communities. “Banks want to help their customers, so ASB has set up systems to support their senior customers,” Clare said.
Having access to bank services was important for communities, she said. “There are many barriers to online banking, including not understanding what online banking is and being able to navigate the online banking websites. The other is, of course, the huge digital divide. If you don’t have access to devices and the internet, that will be a barrier to having a way to managing your money.”