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Kiwibank Confirms Franchise Agreements

Kiwibank Chief Executive Sam Knowles today confirmed that agreements had been reached with more than 100 franchise owners to incorporate Kiwibank services into their existing retail operations.

"Kiwibank now has more than 250 confirmed sites across the country and negotiations are continuing with the other retailers who have New Zealand Post franchises."

Kiwibank began trading in February this year with a pilot programme involving seven PostShops in Palmerston North and Hawkes Bay. In late March the nationwide rollout of the bank began with between 25 and 30 branches opening a week. By the end of April there will be 150 Kiwibank branches operating.

Kiwibank branches opened so far have included some franchise operations, but mainly PostShops owned and operated by New Zealand Post. Franchise owners include the Books and More chain and a range of other retail operations including video rental shops, seven-day convenience shops, chemists and even petrol stations.

Mr Knowles said the delays in reaching agreements with franchise owners will have an effect on the timing of the rollout which was originally intended to be complete in June.

"We are now committed to a major programme to refit the franchise shops with Kiwibank facilities and train staff. This will be carried out throughout May and June. The full franchise rollout will begin in late May.

Mr Knowles said the opening of Kiwibank has gone extremely well with very strong customer support. "We have progressed from signing up several hundred customers a week in February to now opening accounts for several hundred customers per day. We are meeting our initial customer targets," Mr Knowles said.

Customer support has come from an extremely wide range of ages and incomes. "The New Zealand ownership issue has certainly struck a chord with many, but customers are also clearly looking for value and our interest rates on deposits and our home loan rates are very competitive and generating a lot of inquiries," Mr Knowles said.

Kiwibank is 100 per cent owned by New Zealand Post. International credit rating agency Standard and Poor's has given it a rating of AA minus, a rate that matches the major foreign-owned banks operating in New Zealand.

Kiwibank outlets to open next week (dates subject to change):

Monday 22 April: Gonville PostShop, Wanganui
Woolston PostShop, Christchurch

Tuesday 23 April: Symonds Street PostShop, Auckland
Remuera PostShop, Auckland
Shortland Street PostShop, Auckland

Wednesday 24 April: Ellerslie PostShop, Auckland
Avondale PostShop, Auckland
Te Kuiti PostShop, Te Kuiti
Te Awamutu PostShop, Te Awamutu
Royal Oak PostShop, Auckland

ENDS

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