26 Sep 2012

National Bank brand to disappear, branches to close

11:23 pm on 26 September 2012

New Zealand's biggest bank, ANZ National, is ditching the National brand, closing 20 branches, and laying off 200 contractors.

The bank says about 40 full-time staff will have to re-apply for other jobs within the bank but maintains front-line staff will be unaffected.

The National Bank brand will be merged into the ANZ brand after almost 10 years of separate operations.

ANZ National Bank announced on Wednesday The National Bank brand will be phased out over about two years from the end of next month.

ANZ chief executive David Hisco says the contracts of 200 full-time technology contractors will not be renewed.

He says there will be some full-time job losses but he expects them to be minimal.

The number of branches will be reduced from 300 nationwide to 280 - as the two banks in smaller centres are merged in to one building.

The union covering bank workers, the First Union, says it appears ANZ National has listened to staff feedback but previous promises about job cuts weren't honoured.

General secretary Andrew Casidy says he is sceptical about the bank's promises.

He says there is no justification for job cuts as a result of this process.

"The bank made over $1 billion last year in net profit. This is a good opportunity in those situations for the bank to look to deploy those people into roles where they can improve customer service. After all, we all know that every bank in New Zealand needs to improve its game."

Mr Casidy says staff are sad to see The National Bank brand go.