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Help with online banking focus of Coast wananga

A month-long series of wananga is planned to help rural communities on the East Coast deal with a lack of physical banking services.

Te Puni Kokiri Ikaroa-Rawhiti has commissioned a banking solutions project focused on the issues relating to accessing banking services faced by Maori in the communities of Tokomaru Bay, Ruatoria, Tikitiki, Te Araroa and Wharekahika.

Fifteen wananga, with a focus on pakeke (senior citizens) will be run from July 27 to August 27.

“The shift to online banking is still a big transition for some of our community,” Te Puni Kokiri Ikaroa-Rawhiti regional director Mere Pohatu said.

“The phasing-out of cheques at the end of June 2021 is also really putting the spotlight on how ready and able some of our community are to conduct their banking.

“We want to learn more about the issues and some potential solutions.”

Reserve Bank assistant governor Christian Hawkesby last week noted while most have transitioned well to electronic banking, some communities, personal and retail customers were struggling with the loss of cash and in-person banking services despite banks' efforts to help them adapt.

“Data reflects Covid-19 helped accelerate some to shift to online banking and get used to cash depositing and withdrawals through Smart ATMs instead of in person at a branch,” East Coast banking solutions project manager Deanna Harrison said.

“But some require more awhi (support) to ensure they can participate safely and with confidence.

“In an environment of bank branch number reductions, banks having reduced opening hours, reduced numbers of ATMs,and less cash in circulation in favour of electronic transactions, we hope to work with the banks to share information on the factors affecting a specific part of the East Coast community when accessing banking services and potential solutions.

“Adelaide Brooking will draw from her significant banking experience to deliver part of the banking wananga supported by a wider team, including Taitech, who led the delivery of the DoraBus visit to the East Coast in October 2020.”

For further information contact statehighway35banking@gmail.com or call 0800 875 447.