The New Zealand banking sector made a tax-paid profit of $1.05 billion in the most recently reported quarter. That is a huge amount of money. It’s over $11 million a day or $479,000 an hour – 24/7.
The result is all the more remarkable when you consider that it is a near reversal of their performance in the previous quarter, when they reported a combined loss of $1.2 billion. That loss was the result of the banks having to pay the IRD over $2.1 billion in back taxes after the high court found some of them had committed tax avoidance.
If that wasn’t enough the massive profit was recorded in some of the worst economic circumstances in a generation. Unemployment has hit a 10 year high; many workers have been forced into accepting wage freezes or cuts; the banks cost of wholesale credit has increased etc etc.
So they have done extraordinarily well given the circumstances.
But despite this massive profit would you say that your experience of banks has improved? Have your fees gone down? Has your mortgage payment become more manageable? Is your bank offering you new and better services? Are there enough staff in your local branch? Do you even have a local branch?
The New Zealand finance workers union Finsec has teamed up with our Australian counterparts, the FSU to run a Trans-Tasman campaign for Better Banking that is calling into question the whole way that banks operate down under.
We’re asking bank customers to take a few minutes to complete a survey in which we look at some of the key issues of our campaign such as:
We’ve tried to push the New Zealand government to adopt measures that would increase public accountability in our banking system, but have found the National government in particular to be on the side of the banks rather than on the side of customers.
So we’re working on both sides of the Tasman and hope that the views of the public will push the Australian and New Zealand Government’s to lends a more sympathetic ear. The more people who fill in the survey the more chance we have to win the changes we all deserve.
Finsec Campaigns Director