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Westpac, ANZ shutting multiple New Zealand branches due to online banking shift

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 18:18
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Australia's Westpac Banking Corp and ANZ Bank will close 26 mainly rural branches around New Zealand by mid-November, the companies said on Wednesday, as customers shift to online banking.

[WELLINGTON] Australia's Westpac Banking Corp and ANZ Bank will close 26 mainly rural branches around New Zealand by mid-November, the companies said on Wednesday, as customers shift to online banking.

Westpac will close 19 branches, while ANZ said it was planning to close seven.

The decisions underscored the efforts banks are making globally to cut costs and ramp up technology and automated services as customers increasingly shift to online banking.

"We consider these branches are no longer viable, a situation that is unlikely to improve as the number of customers using branches continues to drop steadily," an ANZ spokesman said in an email.

The branches were spread across the country and were largely in small towns and rural areas with smaller customer bases than more populous urban areas.

"Customers are rapidly changing the way they bank," Westpac said in a written statement.

Online transactions at Westpac New Zealand have risen more than 60 percent over the past five years.

REUTERS