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ANZ will slash the number of days its doors will open to the public in Alexandra and Cromwell.

The move means the bank’s Alexandra branch will only open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and the Cromwell branch Thursdays and Fridays, from March 24.
Until then it is business as usual and both branches are open for business Monday to Friday.

However, the bank was not backing down on the decision, citing declining inbranch transactions, an ANZ spokeswoman said.

‘‘The declining number of inbranch transactions is in line with national and global trends.
‘‘Today, the average ANZ customer uses mobile banking one to two times a day, and visits a branch only one to two times a year.’’

The spokeswoman said just 1% of transactions that involve the movement of funds (deposits, withdrawals, transfers and automatic payments) were now made in branches, compared with 43% in 2012.

In response to that changing trend, the organisation has worked with affected staff to find the ‘‘best solution for reduced hours’’.

‘‘A smart ATM will be available at both sites 24/7 so our customers can continue to make withdrawals and deposits whenever it’s convenient.

‘‘We are writing to our customers to advise of the changes.

‘‘In addition, our staff will be on hand both before and after the change to assist customers with registering for any of our alternative services.’’

The spokeswoman said ‘‘opportunities’’ were offered to all staff at both branches, which has resulted in some taking redundancy.

She did not confirm how many staff had opted for it.

The move has raised eyebrows among community leaders.

Vincent Community Board chairman Martin McPherson said the move was a ‘‘sign of the times’’, but hoped it was not the first step towards closing a branch.

‘‘The last thing we need is another empty building and I feel for the staff.’’

He said he understood an increasing number of people were opting to use internet banking instead of paying a visit to the bank, and that trend was not just among the younger generation, as a growing number of retirees and pensioners were also relying on internet banking.

Mr McPherson said he was grateful we still had banks and hoped that would remain the case for some time yet.

Cromwell Community Board chairwoman Anna Harrison said obviously it was a business decision and echoed Mr McPherson’s comments about online banking.

‘‘It is out of our control, but — for one of the fastest growing towns in New Zealand — to cut services in Cromwell is surprising.’’

In her role as principal of Goldfields Primary School, she said that the school often had to use banking services when events like fundraisers, that usually relied on gold coin donations, were held.

Alexandra-Clyde and Districts Business Group secretary Stu Millis, who banks with ANZ, said he was ‘‘unhappy’’ the move came at the cost of personal service, but was resigned to the decision.

‘‘We can complain, but it’s not going to make them change their minds.’’

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz