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Banks 'open all hours' to meet customer needs

KPMG New Zealand Date 2nd May 2006


Banks adopt ‘open all hours’ approach to meet customer needs

The days of banks closing at 4.30 in the afternoon are on the way out – banks are now opening to match the needs of their customers, KPMG’s latest survey of the banking industry finds.

Financial Services Deputy Chairman Godfrey Boyce says banks are responding to customer demand by being more flexible with their opening hours.

“The days of the 9.00 am to 4.30 pm trading day look to be on the way out. ANZ National, ASB Bank and Westpac have increased hours to open at times that reflect when customers want to be doing their banking, including Saturday mornings and late nights at selected branches.

“Bank of New Zealand offers an after-hours currency exchange service at Auckland International Airport and has stated its intention of extending trading hours over the coming year.

“Kiwibank’s trading hours are consistent with New Zealand Post – 8.00 am to 5.00 pm weekdays and 10.00 am to 3.00 pm on Saturdays.

“This tells us that the banks have got the message that their opening hours need to suit their customers, not themselves.”

The survey reports that staff numbers and bank branches have continued their steady growth in recent years – by almost 1,000 staff members and 12 branches during the 2005 year.

“The continuing increase in branches across the banks is a reflection of an Australasian trend which is recognising the importance of branches and having branch managers available to give advice,” said Mr Boyce.

Despite this, the survey finds that there has been considerable growth in alternative forms of banking.

Internet banking increased by 30 percent, possibly a reflection of the success of TradeMe which involves a large number of transactions being settled by internet transfer.

“The latest trend in banking is to do it with your phone – Mobile Banking. As with most new trends, it’s acquired its own named – mBanking.”

ASB Bank, PSIS and Kiwibank have already adopted mBanking while Westpac and ANZ National have utilised text messaging as a way to communicate with students and for them to request information on tertiary accounting packages.

Mr Boyce said that instances of skimming of ATMs are worrying banks and while losses so far have been modest, it had led to enhanced security precautions. He said one upside for customers was that older, more susceptible ATMs are likely to be phased out sooner than planned.

ENDS

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