INVERCARGILL’s community of Windsor is rallying to save its Kiwibank branch, but its efforts may be in vain.
Staff at the Windsor Stationery and Lotto Shop launched a petition last month opposing the closure of the Kiwibank branch which had been in the store for the past 18 years.
Within a month, they had collected more than 4000 signatures.
Owner/manager Betty Sinclair said they were informed about three months ago Kiwibank was closing the Windsor branch.
The branch was set to close on March 19.
“I was very disappointed. We have been very loyal to Kiwibank.
“We helped get established and now they are taking it off us.
“They haven’t thought about their customers, only about their dollars.”
It was not about the number of customers coming in to use Kiwibank, but rather about the service the branch offered customers in the area, she said.
Many of the Kiwibank customers were older or disabled people who would find it more difficult to go into town to the Don St branch, she said.
Mrs Sinclair intended to send the petition to Parliament and the chief executive of Kiwibank this week.
She thanked everyone who signed the petition. we wouldnbeen able to do it.
Kiwibank retail distribution general manager Geoff Waller said Kiwibank would not reverse its decision in regard to Windsor Stationery.
“We do understand for those small numbers of Kiwibank customers which still regularly use this outlet this change could be uncomfortable, stressful and unsettling,” he said.
“Impacted customers will be contacted directly [in the new year] so we can provide necessary information and support for appropriate banking alternatives to suit their needs.”
The bank did not take these business decisions lightly, however, the way customers used its branches had changed considerably, including in Southland, and Kiwibank had had to adapt to customer preferences accordingly, he said.
Until recently, Kiwibank had four retail outlets serving Invercargill, but decreasing customer numbers using the physical sites indicated operating four outlets was no longer sustainable, he said.
Of the 52 Kiwibank customers who only use Windsor’s Kiwibank services, only 12 had used the site more than three times in the past 12 months.
“The community support is noted, but it doesn’t simply are not using our branches as frequently as they once were.
Last month the Invercargill New Zealand Post and Kiwibank PostShop became a standalone Kiwibank branch in Don St.
Mr Waller said Kiwibank would also continue to operate through its agent in South Invercargill, given the comparatively high numbers of Kiwibank customers still using the Elles Rd retailer.