Source: Federated Farmers
The trial of new shared banking hubs in four rural towns is a worthwhile initiative, Federated Farmers says.
“It’s good to see Kiwibank, BNZ, TSB, ANZ, ASB and Westpac thinking outside the square and co-operating to try and find a cost-effective and customer-useful way of keeping a banking service operating in small rural towns,” Feds economics and commerce spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says.
“If a traditional bank branch is deemed no longer economic, then the proposal for a multi-branded Smart ATM, a support person to provide guidance and assistance, and the facilities for basic transactional services such as cash withdrawals, deposits and account transfers is probably the next best thing,” Hoggard says.
“At the very least the banks involved are committing to not close any other rural bank branch during the 12-month trial. We need banks to support rural customers and act responsibly.”
Federated Farmers banking surveys have been showing over the past 18 months to two years a deterioration in farmer satisfaction with banks and an uptick in those reporting coming under pressure.
“We are also aware of banks putting the wind up farmers and blaming a tightening in lending conditions and higher lending costs on the Reserve Bank’s proposals on bank capital. While we have concerns about the Reserve Bank’s proposals, they are just that – proposals – and some of the banks’ rhetoric has been unhelpful.
“We are having constructive dialogue with the Reserve Bank on its proposals,” Hoggard says.
Farmers are coming under intense pressure from government policies such as Essential Freshwater and climate change and with RMA reform, winter grazing, and indigenous biodiversity to come. All will have impacts on farm costs and on farm production and incomes.
“As farmers work through these challenges they need the confidence that their banks will continue to stand by them.”