Thursday, June 28

taking care of business

From Harvey Jones:

The article below was in our local newspaper last night. Eketahuna is a small town of only about 1,000 or less people, nearby my home town of Pahiatua (pop 3,000).

There has been a running down in New Zealand of various local services.
At Eketahuna the local community are taking things into their own hands. A few years ago the petrol station burned down and none of the oil companies wanted to be part of any rebuilding.

The town created a community trust which all local members were invited to contribute to. From this, they funded the building of a new service station. Now there is no need to travel 25 kms to fill the tank.

A hardware store was similar funded.
There is no doctor in the town so they organised a community nursing service to provide a front line service and reduce travel needs. Now a banking service as well.

I noted that there is no history of
their previous accomplishments in the article below. Now we have to find ways to grow the movement and share the expertise.

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 exchange. 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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