ASB in Howick is set to re-open, albeit with reduced days, as part of a restructure and promotion of a business model that views branches as an increasingly redundant.
In a press release, ASB stated it is ‘recruiting for more than 150 roles to provide specialist guidance and advice to its customers.’
ASB’s executive general manager Retail Banking Craig Sims explained the positions are for people who will work across its phone, online and branch network responding to customers needing a range of specialist assistance; from Covid-19 related help to buying a home or planning for retirement.
“Kiwis’ expectations of their bank are changing. In the past five years for example, at ASB we’ve seen a 42% decline in-branch transactions, and now 85% of our personal customers prefer the convenience of our online and mobile services. Add to that, since lockdown in March around 13,500 customers have used our digital channels for the first time to do their banking and they’re continuing to do so,” says Sims.
As well as employing more Kiwis, ASB is making changes to its branch network.
By Monday 3 August, 25 branches nationwide will permanently move to operate three days a week from 9 am-4.30 pm. Nine branches located in main cities will not reopen.
The Howick branch on Picton St is one of those 25, with new opening hours of Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm announced.
ASB Botany Junction will have the same days and hours open as Howick.
A branch at Pakuranga Plaza closed in 2017 after a report recommended it.
Sims says, “Making changes to our branches is never easy. The branches not reopening have experienced very low number of customers using the branch. Some for example serve only 900 customers a year so that’s only two to three a day. There is also a branch nearby for customers to use. Our decision is motivated by a desire to provide a better overall personal experience for customers and our people.
“Our team is an important part of this change and no jobs will be lost as a result of these changes. Team members will have the opportunity to move to another branch or other roles within ASB, supported by training to provide more specialised guidance and advice,” says Sims.
Sims acknowledges the branch closures may be disappointing for some branch users, and he stresses the bank isn’t diminishing ASB’s support for its customers.