2 Sep 2013

Anger in Russell at closing of only bank

8:50 pm on 2 September 2013

Some residents of Russell in Bay of Islands are upset the town's only bank is about to close. The Westpac branch is shutting its doors in two weeks.

A local retailer, Janet Planet, says the nearest bank is a ferry ride away, in Paihia - and that's not going to work for businesspeople or the many pensioners who live in the town.

"It's an expense," Ms Planet says, "and it's also time out of your day, which a lot us don't have - to be able to close up shop and go over there to do any banking needs.

"We're angry. We're treated like this by our local council but we don't expect it from an institution that we've been loyal to, and we don't expect it from an institution that says they pride themselves on working with communities."

Ms Planet says the closure will also inconvenience the many tourists who visit Russell.

Malcolm Browning, who runs the Russell Service Station, says the closure will be tough on businesses, residents and tourists.

Mr Browning says a cash machine will remain but foreign tourists will not be able to exchange currencies.

Westpac has not responded to requests for comment.