New Zealand: Do-it-yourself banking arrives


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Tuesday, 26 June 2007
Do-it-yourself banking arrives

The small Tararua town of Eketahuna is taking Do It Yourself to whole 
new levels.

It didn't have a supermarket, so it created its own. It didn't have a 
petrol station, so it set one up.

Now, the town is taking banking into its own hands as well.

After all the major banks refused to put either a branch or automatic 
teller machine in Eketahuna, locals decided to set up a money 

The exchange was the brainchild of Tararua district councillor Claire 
Matthews, a banking studies senior lecturer.

She said Eketahuna's population of about 500 made it too small for a bank.

"It's purely a question of profit. It would not be economically viable."

An exchange was the obvious solution, after seeing similar systems in 
other small towns. "A bank branch is only of use if you are with that 
bank, and an ATM really only allows withdrawals, which may attract 
higher fees for customers of other banks. I suggested a money 
exchange, as I had seen in Northland."

Mrs Matthews said not having banking services was frustrating for 
people in Eketahuna, where the nearest bank facilities were 25km away 
in Pahiatua.

The exchange will be run by staff in the council's service centre and 
will aim to break even rather than make a profit, with the council 
subsidising the operation for the first six months on a trial basis.

It will provide access to cash through an eftpos machine, change for 
businesses, cash or cheque deposits, and cheque cashing for approved 
customers. Deposits will go by courier to banks in Masterton.

It is expected to be up and running by August.


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