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Local Bodies: Let’s Bring Our Banking Home!

Written By: - Date published: 10:45 am, June 30th, 2014 - 76 comments
Categories: greens, russel norman - Tags: , , ,

Russel+Norman+New+Zealand+Gears+Up+General+srkwBzF8K4XlReposted from Local Bodies.

In the 1980s and early 90s the wisdom of the day dictated that our small (in a global sense) New Zealand owned banks were unsustainable. We lost the BNZ to the National Australia Bank group and our Trust Banks to Westpac. All 600 PostBank branches around the country were closed down by 1988. The consequences of those decisions saw huge profits and dividends head across the ditch, contributed to our huge Current Account deficit and allowed the Australian banks to become the most profitable in the world at a time when many were being bailed out.

These same banks have shown their gratitude by maximizing their profits through dubious means and paying local CEOs excessive salaries. Inland Revenue managed to claw back billions of avoided tax through legal action and exorbitant default fees (that have cost New Zealanders about $1 billion) are being challenged through a class action.

Russel Norman revealed an unhealthy relationship between our Reserve Bank and Westpac (the Government’s sole banker) when the Reserve Bank Governor was caught out attempting to play down Westpac’s profits to smooth through an ongoing relationship that hadn’t been tendered for.

Ongoing pressure from the Greens has finally seen both the Reserve Bank and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment agree that the Government’s master banker should be decided by a fairly tendered process.

Russel Norman was pleased with this decision because, “Ideally, our Government’s banking should be done by a New Zealand bank. This now becomes a possibility.”

Banks should be supporting our economy but over the last twenty years the Aussie ‘big four’ have been sucking it dry. It’s about time we restored some real competition and brought more of our banking home!

76 comments on “Local Bodies: Let’s Bring Our Banking Home!”

  1. blue leopard 1

    Good idea – it beggars belief that this is not the case already. What have successive NZ politicians been thinking? Time for New Zealanders’ interests to be prioritized by NZ politicians. It is not that hard is it?

    • Chooky 1.1

      +100…just one reason why i will be voting Green!

    • Tracey 1.2

      and why people need to move their accounts, if they want money in nz banks…

      Kiwibank
      Tsb
      Coop bank, formerly psis

      Lets not forget fay richwhites involvement in the sale of bnz, only to pull out and become a buyer.

      • Once was Tim 1.2.1

        +1
        except that temporarily, PSIS still has an unfortunate relationship with BNZ which I hope will end as soon as poss.

        • Tracey 1.2.1.1

          What is the relationship cos the website states

          ” That means that we’re not owned by a big overseas company or the Government. We’re owned by our customers—

          • Once was Tim 1.2.1.1.1

            They’re currently paying them fees – they use BNZ as an interbank facility. For every PSIS account number, there is an equivalent BNZ one.
            This will eventually go as far as I know, when interbank/gateway facilities are properly set up.

            E.G. if I want to transfer money from say ANZ or Westpac to the PSIS, one specifies the BNZ account number.
            PSIS at one time also had their own ATMs. They’ve recently signed a contract with Westpac for PSIS customers to use Westpac ATMs (previously ANZ/NAT ones). Unfortunately it means that Westpac clips the ticket.

  2. Jack 2

    Mindless Government handling of our Banking Institutions, BNZ was basically raped and pillaged and went down the gurgler in no time after being privatised and somehow the Government still held onto liability.

    We did have a strong Banking & Insurance Sector at one stage with the likes of BNZ, National Bank of NZ, Auckland Savings Bank, NZI Insurance & South British Insurance, now all gone.

    Unfortunately NZ can not repair the damage done by poor Government decision making.

    • blue leopard 2.1

      “Unfortunately NZ can not repair the damage done by poor Government decision making.”

      Where there is a will there is a way.

      There is never only one option available there are always alternatives.

      The damaging consequences of poor government decisions can be rectified.

    • Gosman 2.2

      National Bank was owned by Lloyds bank from the UK. Why was that different than an Aussie owned bank?

      • mikesh 2.2.1

        NBNZ originally had a predominantly NZ shareholding. Lloyds aquired a small holding in 1919, and obtained full control in 1966 as NZ shareholders sold their shares to them in order to obtain the overseas funds necessary to purchase Holden Kingswoods.

  3. Chooky 3

    @ Jack..”.BNZ was basically raped and pillaged and went down the gurgler in no time after being privatised and somehow the Government still held onto liability”

    ….we dont want this to happen to Kiwi Bank!…Key’s Govt has already had Goldman Sachs do an evaluation of Kiwi Bank!

    • infused 3.1

      Kiwibank is hopeless.

      Couldn’t get a mortgage with them. Pain in the ass to see a banking manager, who is generally just a teller at the post shop.

      Even more useless for business.

      TSB went out of their way for me. However, TSB are useless for business as well.

      Currently with ANZ for business, but I will be looking around soon.

      • blue leopard 3.1.1

        The bank didn’t give you a mortgage so it is useless?

        Give us a break

        ‘TSB are useless for business as well’

        No reasons supplied

        • infused 3.1.1.1

          Their rates were higher, higher deposit. You can’t just walk in there and talk to someone.

          Then you get TSB who basically bent over backwards for us.

          Reasons? The fact that no system can integrate to their bank feeds is a killer right there, and that the web banking interface is like something from the 1980s.

          Just read, can now integrate with their bank feeds for Xero.

          • blue leopard 3.1.1.1.1

            Your criticisms seem to be about superficial issues.

            My understanding of local banks is that having such is more likely to keep the money – and profits – in the country, is more likely to have expertise of local conditions and more likely to support and encourage local businesses.

            I have, however, been looking around for information on the advantages of local banks (banks in a country rather than foreign ones) to support my case and have been completely unsuccessful in finding relevant sites (!) – they are all about why local banks are good for the individual (or not) rather than the advantages to the country. :(

            This article: ‘The Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Community Bank or Credit Union” whilst not about national vs foreign banks lists the types of advantages I see accruing to New Zealand from having people invest in a NZ Bank as opposed to an overseas one.

            • infused 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Not really superficial issues. They were key issues to me. I guess they are different to everyone.

              My main issue was that TSB was more interested than Kiwibank. Which blew my mind at the time. I went to TSB next as it’s a NZ based bank and was quite amazed with their service.

              I’ve already banked with most of the rest, so I know what they are like.

              I’d happily use Kiwibank if it was any good… thus far that hasn’t been the case.

              • blue leopard

                Yes, sorry, service is important! Only superficial in relation to arguing the point as to whether having New Zealanders using a New Zealand bank is advantageous over them using a foreign bank.

                I somewhat agree re your criticisms re service – I think the fact that Kiwibanks are positioned in shops tends to distract from the service aspect of banking. The bank staff are often swapping roles between shop assistant and bank teller – although to put a good word in: Kiwibanks are open way later than other banks – they are very much more assessable than other banks (where I live, you are hard pressed to catch other banks open …ever!)

              • Chooky

                …for big loans/transactions you have to deal directly with bank managers in the city ….but once this is negotiated the interest rates are very good( way better than Oz banks) ….and the service is very good in the provinces… in the little Kiwbank /PO shops….also for travelling overseas Kiwibank provides the best most easy secure cards and travel banking rates and safety/guarantees….way better than the Oz banks which are a rip off imo

              • Tracey

                what do you mean you were amazed by their service?

        • infused 3.1.1.2

          Good discussion though. Just emailed TSB to ask for a meeting to look at the pros/cons of moving my business to them.

          • blue leopard 3.1.1.2.1

            Hope you choose to go local – my link above may provide you some food for thought. (Not sure whether TSB is a ‘community bank’ but it is certainly a locally (NZ) owned one.)

          • Macro 3.1.1.2.2

            I’ve banked with TSB for years. I lived in the country, and had little access to any banking facilities. If you need to deposit cash which occasionally is the case then you can do that thru any Post Office. Other than that I don’t go near any bank. All on line and any ATM works. They are just a phone call away if you need assistance and there is never any waiting and always resolve the issue there and then. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

      • Chooky 3.1.2

        We had no difficulty with Kiwibank….and a much better deal than with the Oz banks!

        ….Kiwibank needs to be govt guaranteed so that it can support NZers with more risky business ventures

        • infused 3.1.2.1

          I find that hard to believe since Kiwibank always had a higher interest rate a few years ago.

        • Nakiman 3.1.2.2

          “….Kiwibank needs to be govt guaranteed so that it can support NZers with more risky business ventures”

          Government guaranteed banks is not clever. The risk to the bank is the only thing that keeps them honest and realistic. Take the risk away and they will lend money to any idiot because they cant loose. We don’t want to waste more tax payers money bailing out banks that make poor lending decisions.

          • Chooky 3.1.2.2.1

            Nakiman…you show no faith in a people’s bank run by bankers committed to serving the people of the country they represent to make wise decisions on who to lend to and who not to lend to

            …for you banks are ‘dog eat dog’…hence you say “The risk to the bank is the only thing that keeps them honest and realistic”

            ….however predator banks as we have seen in the USA which are controlled by private interest groups to maximise their profit …. use this risk to lure people and institutions into unwise loans and then turn it around on the people and gut them…the people carry the risk and the losses not the banks ….and when the whole house of cards falls over the banks expect governments and taxpayers to bale them out.

            • Gosman 3.1.2.2.1.1

              The people who work at Kiwibank are pretty much the same people who work at any other bank in New Zealand.

              • framu

                so what – the staff at many businesses are pretty much the same thing at any other business – the staff

                • Gosman

                  I’m responding to Chooky’s rather naive assumption that the people who work for Kiwibank are more committed to giving a decent banking experiences than perhaps other banks employees.

                  • Chooky

                    @ Gosman

                    …..banks should be a public service and bankers public servants…it shows how far the capitalist West has become corrupted to think otherwise

                    ….now ordinary people and whole countries have to protect themselves from predatory banks and bankers!

                    • Gosman

                      Why is it that not many left leaning political parties in NZ, not even IMP and The Greens are taking the same line as you?

                    • Chooky

                      @ Gosman re: Commitment to “Decent Banking Experiences”:

                      LEARNING FROM ISLAMIC FINANCE
                      October 22, 2013 Finance 0 Comments
                      By Dr Kamal Munir, Reader in Strategy and Policy at Cambridge Judge Business School

                      By the manner in which they managed to weather the global financial crisis and outperform conventional banks, the stability of Islamic banks has triggered a lively debate on the nature of the conventional system overall and the risks it entails.

                      Islamic finance represents one of the fastest growth fields in global finance – since 2006, the asset base has grown by 150% and is forecast to reach $1.8 trillion this year. Given the stability that Islamic banks offer, and the strict constraints under which they function, this is a tremendous achievement. Going forward, the growth rate is likely to remain steady while opportunities will multiply. Above all, the sector is likely to avoid the crises that have become the norm in conventional finance. So what is it that makes the sector so socially desirable and stable? It comes down to three key features:……

                      http://www.globalbankingandfinance.com/learning-from-islamic-finance/

                    • Chooky

                      More on banks as a public service and bankers as public servants…and it seems that such banks weather the global financial meltdowns better..reports from the IMF and World Bank:

                      GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS
                      Islamic Banks: More Resilient to Crisis?
                      IMF Survey online

                      October 4, 2010
                      Islamic banks fared differently from conventional banks during global crisis
                      Weaknesses in risk management hurt Islamic bank profitability in 2009
                      Crisis revealed important regulatory and supervisory challenges
                      A new IMF study compares the performance of Islamic banks and conventional banks during the recent financial crisis, and finds that Islamic banks, on average, showed stronger resilience during the global financial crisis……

                      https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2010/RES100410A.htm

                      http://blogs.worldbank.org/growth/what-can-we-learn-islamic-finance

        • Wreckingball 3.1.2.3

          That is a terrible idea. I don’t want the Government to guarantee dodgy investments of others. Every bank should only lend money if the risk is right. Such a policy just creates moral hazard.

          I completely agree with Nakiman.

          If a bank wants to lend someone money, it will offer them an interest rate. If another bank is willing to lend to them at a lower rate, it will do so. They are using risk vs reward analysis to work out whether to lend.

  4. infused 4

    The tender is 10 years. So why hasn’t TSB or another bank gone for it?

    That’s the question you should ask.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      They’ve lost the Waitemata Trust’s phone number?

      They won’t touch ex-National Party MPs with a barge-pole and if you don’t offer them a directorship or two you don’t get the contract?

      It’s a red herring offered in bad faith?

    • alwyn 4.2

      I can’t find an unambiguous statement on-line at the moment, probably because I am not putting the right question into Google but I don’t think either Kiwibank or TSB could handle the contract. It really is a huge amount of processing and splitting it up would probably just end up costing more.

      I do remember a couple of years ago the CEO of Kiwibank saying that they could not handle the work and that they wouldn’t be tendering if it was opened up. I doubt if that has changed in the interim. Kiwibank is much larger than TSB so there is no way that TSB could do the work either.
      It is an enormous contract and only the major banks could take it on.

      • infused 4.2.1

        Is Kiwibank bigger than TSB? Where can I find the info?

        • alwyn 4.2.1.1

          You can find the accounts on line if you want to.
          Just google something like “New Zealand TSB balance sheet” or something similar for Kiwibank.

          In 2013 end of year Kiwibank had about $12.5 Billion in deposits while TSB had about $5.1 Billion reported in their 2014 Annual Report.
          I realise that that is only one number but it is indicative of their relative size.

          Westpac New Zealand were about $50 Billion.

  5. mikesh 5

    Overseas banks are “sucking us dry” because they have the right to create money, a right which strictly speaking should belong to the state. The benefits from money creation come from the fact that though the process is costless the money can be lent at interest. That interest, or at least a portion of it, should go to the state.

  6. DH 6

    Has Labour said anything about Kiwibank….?

    For Kiwibank to expand it needs more capital, from what I’ve read it’s growth is constrained by the RBNZ rules on capital adequacy for trading banks. It could easily be double its present size if National hadn’t turned off the tap, they knowingly curtailed Kiwibank’s growth.

    • Chooky 6.1

      Safeguarding from overseas predators and supporting Kiwibank growth in NZ needs to be Labour Party issue….

      • Chooky 6.1.1

        …it would be interesting to hear what Jim Anderton has to say about Kiwibank as it is now ….and as he envisioned it when he set it up….it was a very popular move on his part to set it up

        • DH 6.1.1.1

          I’d think he’d feel both vindicated and disappointed.

          Kiwibank bruised a lot of overblown egos so it was probably inevitable that National would sabotage it. I can still recall when it was set up. The avalanche of jeering, sneering & snide remarks about “Jim’s Bank” was quite vomit inducing. Those muppets all got egg on their faces when Kiwibank made a profit so it’s a safe bet they’d be keen on seeing Kiwibank’s demise. The Nats can’t sell it, even they’re not that stupid, so they just hobbled it.

  7. vto 7

    “Banks should be supporting our economy but over the last twenty years the Aussie ‘big four’ have been sucking it dry”

    Exactly.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      ^^ that is a must read

      This strategy on the part of the TBTF banks is what they try to pass off as the normal “business cycle,” which is nothing more than a means of acquiring the fruits of labor at fire sale prices. There have been 19 recessions since the creation of the Federal Reserve System, all designed with this result in mind, just as the financier Andrew Mellon notoriously proclaimed, “During depressions, assets return to their rightful owners.”

  8. Chooky 9

    Seems like there are changes afoot for Australian Banks..big Oz banks under Tony Abbott’s govt could be allowed to merge……how will this affect New Zealand?

    ‘Big banks could be allowed to merge’ June , 20,2014

    …. the Finance Minister has unveiled his changes to Labor’s reforms to the financial planning industry.

    And on another front, the four pillars policy that has restricted our big banks from merging or taking each other over could be set to crumble.

    WikiLeaks has revealed the Federal Government is involved in secret trade negotiations with the United States, Europe and a host of smaller nations that could swing open the doors on deregulation of the sector.

    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2014/s4030010.htm

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Seems like there are changes afoot for Australian Banks..big Oz banks under Tony Abbott’s govt could be allowed to merge……how will this affect New Zealand?

      NB the Ruling Elite WANT “too big to fail” to continue.

      When GFC 2 hits, these huge merged banks will come crying to the taxpayer for bailouts, holding a gun to our heads saying if they don’t get the money they want, they will crash the economy.

      • Chooky 9.1.1

        “they will crash the economy”…or takeover and own the country!….poor Greece and its experience with Goldman Sachs

        …….all the more reason for a New Zealand government backed Kiwibank for New Zealanders ….which is insulated from the overseas predator banks and their thieving funny money…not so funny men!

        • srylands 9.1.1.1

          “poor Greece’s ” Government should not have developed a sense of entitlement and lulled the population into thinking their crazy policies of the last 30 years could continue without awful consequences. Simple as that.

          • Chooky 9.1.1.1.1

            @ srylands……Greek govt certainly helped by Goldman Sachs to dupe the people

            ‘Greek Debt Crisis: How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt’

            By Beat Balzli

            Goldman Sachs helped the Greek government to mask the true extent of its deficit with the help of a derivatives deal that legally circumvented the EU Maastricht deficit rules. At some point the so-called cross currency swaps will mature, and swell the country’s already bloated deficit.

            http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/greek-debt-crisis-how-goldman-sachs-helped-greece-to-mask-its-true-debt-a-676634.html

            • Tracey 9.1.1.1.1.1

              slylands doesnt link concepts. He doesnt “get” that a country of people who had no mortgages and no credit cards until the 80′s became an overspending government by 2008 but the two are not connected by a single feature: banking system he champions. Pity him but thank god his wife is a greenie so the children have a chance at humanity

            • Gosman 9.1.1.1.1.2

              That is like blaming the person who lent a car for the crime that was committed using it. The Greeks were the ones responsible for getting in to debt. Noone else spent the money.

          • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1.2

            http://rwer.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/why-europes-austerity-experiment-is-doomed-to-fail-7-graphs/

            Growing government debt thus appears to be more a symptom of the crisis than a cause. Its rise began after the crisis in both countries, not before; and the one that hasn’t deliberately attempted to reduce government spending by austerity is the one whose public debt ratio is no longer rising.

            Greece got fucked over by the ECB putting in place policies that you advocate for.

          • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.3

            “poor Greece’s ” Government should not have developed a sense of entitlement and lulled the population into thinking their crazy policies of the last 30 years could continue without awful consequences. Simple as that.

            Actually, the Greek elites were bought and paid for by international banking, and they subsequently sold out their fellow citizens. Further, Greece signed away its currency sovereignty, and allowed itself to be subject to debt in a foreign currency that it did not control.

            You really should update your pro-German pro-EU propaganda, they’re a couple of years out of date.

          • Chooky 9.1.1.1.4

            @ Sryslands …too simple to just blame the Greek people and their government

            From the Guardian and the USA:

            ‘Goldman Sachs faces Fed inquiry over Greek crisis’

            The investment bank’s work with the Greek government in the early part of the decade is now under scrutiny as Athens struggles with huge debts

            http://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/feb/25/markets-pressure-greece-cut-spending

            From Aljazeera : ‘The Bank that Rules the World’

            http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2014/06/goldman-sachs-bank-rules-world-2014613175932453607.html

            From alternet: ‘ “The Role of Goldman Sachs

            Greece was able to “hide” its deficits thanks to Goldman Sachs, which had sold financial derivatives called credit-default swaps to Greece between 2002 and 2006. The credit-default swaps operated a bit like subprime loans, enabling Greece to lower its debts on its balance sheets, but at very high borrowing rates. Goldman Sachs had sales teams selling these complicated financial instruments not just to Greece, but to many gullible municipalities and institutions throughout Europe (and the United States), who were told that these deals could lower their borrowing costs. For Greece, the loans blew up in 2008–2009, when interest rates rose and stock markets collapsed. Among those involved in these deals included Mario Draghi (now President of the ECB), who was working at the Greece desk at Goldman Sachs at the time. While these sales generated huge profits for Goldman Sachs, the costs are now being borne by ordinary Greek people in the form of punishing austerity programs. (For more on Goldman Sachs’s role, see part four of the PBS documentary “Money, Power, Wall Street.”)”

            http://www.alternet.org/economy/which-way-out-greek-nightmare-and-crisis-europe

          • framu 9.1.1.1.5

            no its not as simple as that – but we know you like things to be simple – its all you can cope with

            or is this more of your “listen my opinion – its self evident fact” language fuckwittery?

            Ever thought your ideas are so powerful they dont need to be debated?

            Oh – thats right, still waiting for you to respond to my challenge over on the roading post – go on, give us an answer

        • srylands 9.1.1.2

          Well you have it, don’t you? It is a dog but you have it nevertheless.

          • Chooky 9.1.1.2.1

            …are you saying Kiwibank is a ‘dog’ ?

            • blue leopard 9.1.1.2.1.1

              …rather a nice loyal dog than a money grubbing fat cat cross two-headed snake GM hybrid thing

            • felix 9.1.1.2.1.2

              Chooky, if Kiwibank was sucking billions out of our economy srylands would be in favour.

              • Chooky

                yes agreed….and going into whose pockets?…theft from the people!….we have to watch our Kiwibank ….where is Labour on this and where is Jim Anderton?

              • Gosman

                Kiwibank has sucked 10 ‘ s if not 100′s of millions of dollars out of the NZ economy. You just aren’t aware of it.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  The Australian banks pull billions of dollars out from the NZ economy every year.

            • srylands 9.1.1.2.1.3

              Yes. It has never paid a dividend.

              Also, compared to the other banks it has a high proportion of low margin customers. So it has had two impacts:

              1. Sucked up a vast amount of taxpayer capital without returning a dividend (the taxpayers have no choice – charming)
              2. Increased the profitability of the Australian owned banks.

              ANZ shareholders have much to thank Jim Anderton for. As a test – when did you ever hear of ANY of the big Australian banks whinging about “unfair” competition from the “Government owned” bank? That’s right never. Because they all want it to remain.

              The unintended consequences of socialism writ large :-)

              • MrSmith

                Kiwi bank have 1.39% of market share SS, so why would the ozzies banks be worried, now if Kiwi bank had 10-20% of the market share then we could start to compare them.

                Should we trust the ozzies though? Probably not and after reading the papers today I see one of their most trusted is just about to go to jail, tie your kangaroo down sport .

              • KJT

                Why are they working so hard to remove Kiwibank, then!

                Hint. All bank fees dropped, and all the extra little charges that banks apply in Australia have not been used here..

                • MrSmith

                  Actually the truth is KJT kiwi bank have over 10% market share now , not bad for a bank that was set up 12 years ago, that’s what they are worried about.

  9. greywarbler 10

    Jim Anderton is trying to save a white elephant in Christchurch ie the ancien cathedral.

    That’s a very interesting image of Russel Norman. Pieces of him stand out from the dark background, shows off his green tie well.

  10. Gosman 11

    Kiwibank was in no position to take on the work of being the banker to the government even if it wanted to at the last time the contract was renewed. Even now it is not really able to do so as the core banking application is not robust enough. They are currently looking to upgrade to SAP which is a major undertaking. This will take a couple of years and cost over 100 million dollars likely. Only then could they tender for the job.

    • dimebag russell 11.1

      @grossman
      you are the one that needs an upgrade from being a SAP.
      Kiwibank can do what ever it is directed to do.

  11. MrSmith 12

    The current banking system should be burned, then buried along with religion and then only talked about in history books, when this finally happens people will look back in wonder, as we do now, at those who once thought the world was flat.

    Another thing that bugs me is the media asking the local banking economists for their opinions. For fucks sake, apart from the fact they have know bloody idea, what’s going to happen, and if they did will just spin you a line, because these people don’t work for the general public , for christ sake it’s like asking the fox how things are going since he moved into the hen house.

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