Flogging off Kiwibank

Written By: - Date published: 9:42 am, March 31st, 2016 - 67 comments
Categories: assets, john key, privatisation - Tags: , , , ,

I suppose it was about time for this old chestnut to roll around again:

Liam Dann: Time to sell Kiwibank and NZ Post

The time has come to split Kiwibank from its parent NZ Post and sell them both.

No it hasn’t.

Kiwibank was launched in 2002 to provide New Zealanders with a locally-owned alternative to the Australian banks.

Yes it was, and so it does.

It is a fantastic company, it has built a great brand and customer base but it needs to grow if it is to provide some serious competition to the big four.

Flogging it off will just turn the big 4 Aussie banks into the big 5, reducing competition, not enhancing it. If you want Kiwibank / competition to grow, find other ways to do it.

National have long wanted to sell Kiwibank. Fortunately, public reaction forced a backdown:

PM pledges not to sell Kiwibank after all

Prime Minister John Key has changed his position on the sale of Kiwibank and now says there will be no sale or part sale while he is Prime Minister.

No sale or part sale is pretty clear, so I guess Dann is floating his balloon in vain. Unless of course Key would break a clearly stated promise. But he would never do that, would he?

67 comments on “Flogging off Kiwibank”

  1. Sabine 1

    Well he would not sell it as long as HE is PM. What would happen under a PM COLLINS and that lovely BENNETT?

    would they sell it? You betcha.

    • Mosa 1.1

      Anyone who believes John Key on anything is a bloody idiot
      He is New Zealanders greatest manipulator
      He will go into the 2017 election with a policy to sell it with a mandate which all those bloody idiots will give him again

      • Mosa 1.1.1

        When listening to anything he says believe the complete opposite of what he is commenting on
        Then the shock and disappointment is minimal

  2. mac1 2

    Typical approach of this government. This comment is a reaction to another post wherein the NZLP is given a serve for releasing discussion points and then getting hammered in the media for stupid ‘barking mad’ policy.

    What this government does is, and a compliant media assists in this, is let an idea escape in to the community without saying it could be govt policy if it gets enough favourable, or little, negative reaction. Focus groups can then be employed.

    Kiwi Bank sales has already had a wee public airing. I commented on it five days ago as a possible government direction in its final flurries to enable its neo-lib agenda. Obviously, the reaction was unfavourable to Kiwi Bank sales.

    Or are they still testing the waters with Dann? As Key often says, “I can get another and different opinion on that.”

  3. David H 3

    You can imagine it tho. Key “I have sold KiwiBank and I resign suckers!!”

  4. DH 4

    Looks to me like he was under orders, it’s a rather strange rant for someone claiming to be a business editor.

    He says this…..

    “If the Government floated 49 per cent on the NZX it could net $750 million and deliver the company some much needed capital to grow and boost its profitability.”

    A float such as that delivers no capital at all to the company. So why did he say it would, a business editor should know the difference between a share sale and a capital raising.

    • Lara 4.1

      What the…. ???

      An IPO IS an effective way to raise capital.

      Where exactly do you think the money goes when people buy those shares that the company sells?

      • Outdoor 4.1.1

        The government is the sole shareholder so should get the money from selling its shares, if it chooses to invest that money in kiwibank what does that do to the shareholding ratios? Look at the power companies where the government took the money & wasted it on irrigation. Some of the money might have been used for education, almost a waste as the government are most in need of a real education in looking after others instead of chasing after the 1%.

  5. left for dead 5

    I found it interesting with question time (parliament) yesterday when the co-leader of the Green party had been peppering Blingish with Questions, and one response from Bling’ was the Government propping up NZ Post with business after that failed flag thingy, if she was a bit more quick witted, could have suggested that Kiwi bank would be a good fit for further Gov’ business by making them the Government’s bank of choose.

    • Heather Grimwood 5.1

      Concurring with ‘left for dead’ : I have always thought Kiwibank should have had official Government backing. It has amazed me since its inception though, how many seemingly leftwing voters retain/ed their previous bank , because surely only the power of the people (one again) can give it real strength. Maybe some were hindered through being tied to mortgages, but I also think many just didn’t get their heads round it. It would seem that urgent PR in it’s cause is needed.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    What’s the Opposition’s alternative vision for Kiwi Bank?

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    It is a fantastic company, it has built a great brand and customer base but it needs to grow if it is to provide some serious competition to the big four.

    And the answer to that is for the government to capitalise it so that it can grow.

    Selling it won’t actually do that. All selling it would do is cause the same to happen to Kiwibank as happened to Eagle Boyz pizza when Restaurant Brands bought it out. It got swallowed whole by Pizza Hut (a wholly owned subsidiary of Restaurant Brands) and even the name disappeared. Another example of that is Georgie Pie which got bought out and closed down by McDonalds.

    When you sell a competing brand to the competition it gets closed down because the competition doesn’t want it there to take away from their standing. It doesn’t grow in size.

    • NZJester 7.1

      If the government was serious about Kiwibank they would have moved the government bank accounts to it from Westpac. That would help it grow and help provide serious competition to the big 4.

      As for NZ Post as I said in my comment on Daily Review for the 30th (Instead of improving services to keep exiting customers and win back old ones, the management at NZ Post seamed to have been trying to run down its services and loose customers so that the government can easily make a case to get rid of it.)

      • Heather Grimwood 7.1.1

        Thank you NZJester…..I knew Kiwibank had not status yet of a trading bank, but didn’t know the Govt used Westpac. I reiterate that in lieu of Govt encouragement ( e.g. PR ) for Kiwibank, only people power will improve matters. Therefore an alternative PR source would seem to be needed.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          Kiwi Bank is a registered bank like SBS; I don’t think that there is any special additional status required to be considered a “trading bank” except that the big players like to call their own cosy club that.

          • Heather Grimwood 7.1.1.1.1

            I’m using wrong term I guess. Just know they don’t have money exchange.

        • left for dead 7.1.1.2

          Heather and NZjester, I have a feeling The Government has rolled over their contract will Westpac last year, for a long period of time.

          A shame

    • Chooky 7.2

      +100…where are the Left parties on this?…they should be jumping up and down in the defence of KiwiBank…afterall it was set up by Jim Anderton

      …and will KiwiBank be sold to Goldman Sachs?

    • Kevin 7.3

      WestpacTrust all over again.

    • Jones 7.4

      Just like Westpac gobbled the Trust Bank brand, ANZ gobbled PostBank and National Bank gobbled Countrywide before being gobbled themselves by ANZ.

      And it was so frustrating to listen to ANZ, during the initial takeover of National Bank, crowing about having more branches than any other bank, knowing full well that the plan was already in place to rationalise the location and number of branches. How do they get away with that…?

    • dave 7.5

      with interest rates slowly moving to zirp or worse nirp having money in any bank doesn’t make sense except for making payment so all that is needed is a low cost transaction service Australian banks have loaned hundreds billions into the mining sector with massive exposure to property bubbles in Australia and new Zealand banks are no longer safe stores of savings . i cant see the point of turning kiwi bank into house of cards when it would serve the community better if it were ran as utility

  8. slumbergod 8

    For Sale. One Used Prime Minister. Lacks integrity and is prone to lying. Also a bit shady. Any takers?

  9. Chch_chiquita 9

    I was already considering moving all our private and business accounts to Kiwibank because it is the only local bank, but now I will wait. If it will be sold and become just like Westpac than I might as well stay with what I have now.

    • Phil 9.1

      because it [Kiwibank] is the only local bank

      Are you not familiar with TSB Bank, SBS Bank, Co-Operative Bank, or Heartland Bank?

      They are also 100% locally/NZ-owned.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        That’s a small fraction of the banks we used to own. I used to bank with Trust Bank, for instance. Long swallowed up.

        And all those remaining NZ banks all put together control a near-negligible proportion of NZ deposits and mortgages.

        • Phil 9.1.1.1

          all those remaining NZ banks all put together control a near-negligible proportion of NZ deposits and mortgages.

          Which tells you everything you need to know about the importance New Zealand depositors place on local ownership.

          • ropata 9.1.1.1.1

            there was a slight kerfuffle when the BNZ collapsed, was bailed out, then sold off to some Aussie outfit

            1990 SAW the country face up to the horror of finding the-then “People’s Bank”, BNZ, on the edge of collapse. Falls in commercial property prices led to a wave of loan impairment for the bank, much of it on Australian loans. To prop it up, the incoming National government chipped in $620m. It wasn’t the first capital injection. Fay Richwhite had bought a shareholding in BNZ for $300m the previous year. Around 13% had been floated to the public in 1987. Ruth Richardson saw no need for the government to own it and perhaps wished Roger Douglas had been allowed to sell the whole thing. In the end National Australia Bank paid $1.48b for it. It was a bargain. In the past six years the company has made a net profit for shareholders of $3.61b.

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/776473/Lessons-of-the-past

          • Heather Grimwood 9.1.1.1.2

            To Phil: Possibly says something about the fiscal position of those who CAN invest…at least to do so substantially.

          • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1.3

            No, it tells you all you need to know about advertising and how it manipulates people.

            • Heather Grimwood 9.1.1.1.3.1

              To Phil: think we are stating in different frameworks the same fact..that non-caring (greed) escalates with fiscal accumulation.

              • Phil

                I don’t think that’s right at all. The interest rate on a deposit at each of the banks (be it a locally- or Australian- or elsewhere-owned bank) is much of a muchness. If the issue for depositors really was just greed, then surely we’d see money flood into whichever bank offered the highest rate of return on any given day… but that’s not what happens.

                Instead, I think it’s more about risk. Whether or not you agree with it, most people perceive the big four Australian-owned banks as being the ‘safest’, so that’s where they stick their money.

          • greywarshark 9.1.1.1.4

            Phil
            ‘Which tells you everything you need to know about the importance New Zealand depositors place on local ownership.’

            Which tells us that you just spout the usual misinformation and speculation that passes for firm opinion. Probably this is what rises out of focus groups to inform the government so they know which rug they can slide their dodgy dealings under.

            NZs don’t know enough about the workings of finance entities and the predatory nature of Australia as far as NZ is concerned, and the savage behaviour of most business even if it adopts the ‘iron hand in a velvet glove’ approach. We have
            thought that Australia was a friendly nation to us in every way, why wouldn’t we trust their banks. We didn’t think of the balance of payments, or current a/c deficit or whatever. We haven’t got past household financing and whether you use fixed or floating interest rates for one to five years.

      • Ch-ch Chiquita 9.1.2

        I am familiar but I also need business banking and I like to keep it simple for myself and have it all in one place, Kiwibank was the only local alternative I could find to give me solutions to all I need.

      • greywarshark 9.1.3

        TSB is the only other fully independent bank I think. The others operate under the umbrella of others to process transactions SBS is Westpac, Co-operative and no doubt Heartland though I don’t know if the last two are Westpac.

        SBS in their timeline say this for –
        2002 Full transactional banking and SBS website launched.
        2008 SBS achieves bank registration on October 7, making history by becoming the first building Society in the world to also become a registered bank. SBS total assets reach $2.43 billion.

        NZ banks – 2013 Massey report

        A useful link about commercial and investment banks and mentoning the Glass Steagall Act which I hear about but didn’t know anything of.
        http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=commercial-bank

  10. Stuart Munro 10

    It was inevitable that this thoroughly bankrupt National government would sell kiwibank – but they won’t get much for it – customers will desert it en mass if it goes offshore.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      And the seven figure parasites from GS (the “vampire squid”) roll on into town.

      • Phil 11.1.1

        our local district KiwiBank is no longer enrolling new accounts

        What? Do you mean Kiwibank deposit/loan accounts, or Kiwisaver enrollments? Or something else?

        • Chooky 11.1.1.1

          i think new KiwiBank accounts….(I was helping someone from overseas with English as a second language, who already had an account with Westpac in Australia, open a NZ account …and we were told this by the local Westpac …that they were the only bank in town now)…so I am not sure of the details …my understanding, without talking to KiwiBank , is that KiwiBank will help with all existing accounts but not open new accounts because they do not have the staff. They also serve the community as a Post Office.

          ….question is …why doesn’t KiwiBank have the staff now?…is it being starved out ?….and is this happening in other communities around New Zealand?….and if so, under whose direction and decision?

  11. b waghorn 12

    There is no way this government will sell nz post . as sound financial managers they only sell assets that make profit for there new owners while they borrow to prop up the ones they have driven into the dirt. /sarc

  12. Ad 13

    Call me a Chardonnay Socialist, but any attempt to sell Kiwibank off would make my blood boil so much I might even become party-active again.

  13. Kevin 14

    I have been a KiwiBank customer from day 1 and love that fact my ATM card has “Foundation Customer” on the front.

    I would be gutted to see them sold off as I have had great service from them over the years.

    If they are sold off I would be looking at TSB, Heartland Bank or SBS.

    • Chooky 14.1

      +100 Kevin…we would abandon ship too…for those NZ owned and run banks

    • Phil 14.2

      I have had great service from them over the years

      Accepting that each of us has different personal circumstances and expectations, I’ve been never been impressed with Kiwibank’s customer service. Westpac, for me, has its ups and downs and BNZ have been pretty good.

      Oh, one last one: American Express’ customer service phone line is great. I’ve never spent more than a minute on hold and the first person I talk to is always able to answer my question and has authority to change whatever needs to be changed. There is an upside to globalisation 🙂

      • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1

        There is an upside to globalisation

        Yeah, we’re starting to learn how piss poor our managers are.

      • Chooky 14.2.2

        we have had excellent service from KiwiBank …far better than Westpac !

  14. TC 15

    The PM promised no more assets to be sold so relax folks as he is soooo trustworthy.

  15. nzsage 16

    I’m with Kiwibank and it’s top of my list for customer service, not just as a bank but just about any organisation I’ve dealt with.

    Sell it off and I’m gone, like many other of its customers no doubt.

  16. feijoa 17

    Have just opened an account with the Cooperative Bank- they are looking for new customers I think.
    They told me they get all their money within New Zealand, and share any profits with their members / customers. Kinda like what banks should be..

    • Rodel 17.1

      Been with Kiwibank and Cooperative Bank (ex PSIS) for years and very satisfied. Westpac’s staff arrogant attitude to customers pissed us off so much we closed all accounts & transferred everything to Kiwi and Coop. When hearing of the the transfer Westpac suddenly became caring and friendly. funny that.

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