The Palms Kiwibank recently closed its doors, after shutting down the Eastgate and Woolston stores a few years prior.
Now, their customers in the Eastern suburbs are being encouraged to use online alternatives.
Kiwibank recognises change is difficult for many customers, so is providing free digital banking workshops, with their specialist Digital Angels helping tailor support for customers.
Communications manager Kara Tait explained the decision to close paralleled with the growing preference for customers to use online banking services and a “significant decline” in the numbers of people visiting branches.
Instead, they’re revamping their online platform to make it even more accessible for customers.
“We have engaged a pan-disability digital accessibility consultancy to conduct a formal audit of our website to ensure it is accessible for different abilities, including neurodiversity.”
They’re also part of the New Zealand Bankers Association which helps design a banking code of practice for disabled people.
However, Pauline Melham is visually impaired and while she finds online banking convenient, she says it doesn’t suit everyone.
“Online banking is great but sometimes you just need to talk to someone and if you don’t have a branch to go into this can be very difficult.”
She also says many disabled people are overrepresented in lower socio-economic groups because finding employment is challenging. In its 2018 study, Stats NZ found only one in five disabled people are working.
Hence, Melham says it’s more difficult to rely on a computer, smartphone or reliable internet service when the finances aren’t there to afford it.