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BNZ goes mobile to support Christchurch SMEs

BNZ goes mobile to support Christchurch SMEs

BNZ is bringing banking services to the doorsteps of earthquake affected small businesses in Canterbury thanks to the establishment of a mobile banking team.

The newly formed BNZ Rapid Response Team consists of a number of locally based small business managers who will travel to where they’re needed between Kaiapoi in the north, Rolleston in the south and everywhere in between to support Christchurch businesses.

BNZ Head of Retail, Southern Region, Chris Gourley believes mobility and flexibility on the part of the bank have a key part to play in helping Christchurch businesses get the right financial advice when they need it.

“With 41% of Christchurch businesses reporting an increase in costs and 22% seeing a decline in revenue since the February earthquake, we know they need all the support they can get. BNZ’s Rapid Response Team means our small business managers can go straight to the customer providing tailored support through the introduction of new tools to help businesses rebuild their customer base and income streams.”

Mr Gourley adds that the most common disruptions for small businesses in Christchurch right now are keeping their cashflow going and finding enough time in the day to get everything done, something the Rapid Response Team will be able to address directly.

“As we approach the one year anniversary since the first earthquake, the number of business owners who are still working out of their living rooms and kitchens or sharing space with other small businesses is staggering. Their customer numbers have dwindled and many businesses have relocated three or four times — they’ve spent their cash reserves just getting through this. By coming to them, we’re taking one further difficulty out of the equation for them.”

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“Small businesses are the backbone of Christchurch and right now they need customers, support and rapid access to cash flow. We need to get the word out that Christchurch is open for business. We’re getting them up-and-running and they’re raring to go,” says Mr Gourley.

The Rapid Response Team has been welcomed by civic leaders also.

Christchurch Mayor, Bob Parker says, “It's great to see a business coming up with innovative concepts designed to assist Canterbury SMEs who may need any extra support they can get during this very difficult time. Congratulations on this new initiative."

Peter Townsend, Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce believes the Rapid Response Team will make a difference to the region, “This is an excellent initiative by the Bank of New Zealand which will make a real difference to many smaller businesses in Christchurch who need all the help they can get to assist to drive the Canterbury economy forward.”

Further to the more than $20 million of effective short-term BNZ funding that is already helping around 1,500 customers and businesses in the region, the Rapid Response Team has been empowered to help Canterbury businesses get back on their feet faster through the use of a number of tailored banking services. These services include:

- Small business mentoring
- A $15,000 rapid overdraft facility that can be put in place within 15 minutes
- Interest only funding for 12 months for new customers
- 100% equipment finance (up from 90% currently)
- Lending of up to 80% on set up costs for hospitality businesses needing to re-locate or start-up
- Quick access to specialist insurance advice.

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