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Banking Hub trial a new approach to regional banking

30 September 2019

A unique partnership of six New Zealand banks will trial a new approach to providing banking services in small regional communities.

Banking Hubs will be trialled in four small towns for 12 months, with the first starting by early 2020. The hubs will feature a Smart ATM, support staff and online and technology support.

During the pilots the participating banks – Kiwibank, BNZ, TSB, ANZ, ASB and Westpac – will not close regional branches. This excludes co-located Kiwibank/NZ Post premises.

“New innovation and technology has brought huge benefits and convenience to customers such as 24 hour banking but some communities, especially small towns, can feel left behind when physical branches close,” says New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Roger Beaumont.

“While many people hardly ever visit bank branches, some people still prefer to bank face to face. Banks want to help those customers by using innovative ideas and technology.

“Each Banking Hub pilot will test different ways of adapting to community demand and requirements and services will evolve over time. They will provide different capabilities, with variations in technology and personal service.

“NZBA will establish partnerships with local organisations or use existing bank infrastructure branches to host the hubs.

“NZBA has held a series of discussions with the government ministers on the best ways to help regional New Zealand. Those constructive conversations and feedback from local communities and customers have been part of the process leading to this trial,” Beaumont says.

The hubs for the trial will be located in Martinborough, Opunake, Stoke and Twizel.

For the purposes of this pilot, regional branches are defined as those outside the city council boundaries of the six main urban centres: Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Banking Hubs Fact Sheet

Banking Hubs are an innovative trial aimed at providing basic banking services to customers in regional New Zealand via multi-branded branches.

Four pilots will be held, with each trialling different options in different types of markets. The hubs will be either in stand-alone or community venues, providing a Smart ATM with a support person and technology on hand.

The participating banks are Kiwibank, ASB, BNZ, TSB, Westpac and ANZ.

Banking Hubs will be trialled in:
• Opunake, South Taranaki
• Martinborough, Wairarapa
• Stoke, Tasman
• Twizel, Canterbury

The Hubs will provide basic transactional services such as cash withdrawals, deposits and account transfers.

The hubs will all have a multi-branded Smart ATM and online banking facility, along with a support person to provide guidance and assistance.

As part of the pilot banks are undertaking new technology development to improve the Smart ATM capabilities, especially in being able to receive deposits from all banks.

Two of the hubs (Opunake and Twizel) will be based in towns with one bank left, whose branch will turn into the hub.

Stoke and Martinborough do not have existing branch infrastructure. NZBA will look to partner with local government or organisations to establish a venue, likely in a community centre or other location.

Support staff will also be able to refer customers to the banks for financial advice via dedicated phone and internet banking services.

The trial will last for 12 months. The start dates will differ at each location. This period will include scope for changes and improvements to the model.

Measuring success
NZBA is developing a range of criteria to measure the success of Banking Hubs. They will include transaction volume, transaction type, customer satisfaction and technology education.

Current branches
During the course of the trial the participating banks will not close any regional branches. This excludes co-located Kiwibank/NZ Post premises. ‘Regional’ is defined as outside the city council boundaries of the major urban centres: Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

This commitment will not apply if there are factors outside the bank’s control such as earthquake strengthening, health and safety, and lease expiry without right of renewal.

The operational cost of the hubs will vary from location to location but will be significantly less than a full scale branch. Costs will be shared by the participating banks.


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