Public want banks pulled into line

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, May 5th, 2009 - 28 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:

banks220Last week I posted on Finsec’s petition to make job protection a condition of the Government’s bank guarantees. Today Finsec are delivering that petition to Parliament, along with more than 10,000 signatures in support. Great stuff to all of you who signed the sheet and sent it in.

The union’s position is pretty simple. At a time when banks are making combined profits in excess of $2.5 billion and CEOs recieve salary packages of more than $2 million each, there’s no excuse for banks to continue to cut jobs and offshore work while receiving taxpayer assistance.

And New Zealanders agree. A UMR poll released today shows 79% of Kiwis want job protection to become a condition of bank guarantees. No surprise really when you consider that already this year close to 1000 jobs have been offshored.

So now the ball’s in the Government’s court. Will they step in and Kiwi protect jobs, or will they keep propping up foreign banks while allowing them to outsource our jobs to low wage countries?

28 comments on “Public want banks pulled into line”

  1. Pat 1

    The bank guarantees were set up in necessary haste by Cullen. They guarantee depositors for 2 years, and it saved the collective arses of every finance institution in the country. In all the contingent liability is enough to sink NZ to the bottom of the ocean.

    Unfortunately because of the haste and lack of bi-partisan approach in the middle of an election campaign, there were no riders attached. I’m not sure what can be done to add extra conditions to the guarantees retrospectively, but I am all for calls for English to bring some pressure to bear on the Banks to play their vital part in the recession. So far the Banks sole focus is on preserving their credit ratings, nothing else.

    Finsec focus is soley on jobs, and fair enough. But what about all the other things the Banks should be doing right now:

    1. Interest rates. OCR dropped 0.50% last week, but not a single Bank has dropped their floating rates. This is profiteering at its worst. It’s been happening since the first OCR drop last year.

    2. Flow of credit. Despite their faux protests to the contrary, the Banks have basically shut up shop. Businesses and farmers are feeling it the worst. We can’t get out of a recession when the Banks risk appetite is so negative. Without a flow of credit, eventually all that happens is that the Banks worst predictions for the economy become a self-fulfilling prophecy

    3. Break fees. So much variance between the Banks, and the formulas are so complex it reeks of a Baffle-Them-With-Bullshit policy. This needs a simple and transparent system adopted industry wide.

    So by all means, let’s have a go at the Banks and demand more for saving their butts. Jobs is just one part of it, IMO.

    • Kevin Welsh 1.1

      New Zealanders are being gouged big time by the banks at the moment. For example, in Australia, their OCR if .5% higher than New Zealand but their floating mortgage rates are .5% to .75% cheaper than New Zealand.

      In Alan Bollards statement last Thursday the exasperation was pretty hard to miss. I do not know what he can do to force the banks hands, and I doubt very much whether NACT would do anything about it, even if they have the means at their disposal.

      I guess the Kiwi Experiment continues…

  2. had enough 2

    Why do you think overseas companies should not be able to out-source jobs seeing they come from overseas anyway?

    • Tane 2.1

      The fact they’re operating in our country and being propped up by our taxpayer guarantees might have something to do with it.

    • Eddie 2.2

      They’re Australian-owned but they’re not overseas companies like, say, Microsoft is. They have been in this country for a very long time and used to be domestically-owned.

  3. Con 3

    Ironic that in Australia, the ANZ is planning to outsource jobs to a low-wage country: New Zealand.

  4. Trevor Mallard 4

    They are only profitable because of the guarantees – which will have to be renewed next year. a signal now of a policy change would be helpful.

    • lukas 4.1

      shouldn’t you be paying more attention to question time? How many withdraws did you have to make today?

  5. Yeswecan 5

    The public do not give a toss about Finsec jobs, the public want the banks to lower credit card rates, lower mortgage rates and lower bank charges.

    If some staff have to lose their jobs then tough luck, nobody cares about union hacks or the moaning of Finsec.

    • Tane 5.1

      What is it that you fail to understand about the sentence “A UMR poll released today shows 79% of Kiwis want job protection to become a condition of bank guarantees”?

      Sounds like you’re the one who’s out of touch with public opinion.

      • Yeswecan 5.1.1

        And I should trust a poll commissioned by Finsec should I?

        People lose jobs in a recession, hell we should be used to it by now, after all it was that fiscal fool Cullen who led us into recession before any other nation in the world.

        A fair poll would show that people want lower mortgage rates and lower credit card rates, most would not give a second thought to job security for Finsec members, I could not care how many lost their jobs just as long as I save money.

        • Tane

          The poll is commissioned by Finsec but run by UMR, a professional and reputable polling company with a long list of commercial clients.

          You might not care how many people have lost their jobs, but clearly the public do. And that’s what this post was about. Anything else?

          • Yeswecan

            “with a long list of commercial clients.”

            Appointed by the last Labour government.

            UMR are hardly fair and balanced, like every polling company they will ask the questions that elicit the answers those paying for the poll want.

            Did they ask “would you rather jobs were saved of lower mortgage rates”?, somehow I doubt it.

            Lets face it Tane, unions and the union movement are powerless to stop any of this, one would hope that the fools who pay their own hard earned money to union thugs will now see that they get nothing in return for that money and that they would be far better to negotiate on their own behalf instead of paying some union parasite to do it for them.

          • Tane

            It’s well known that Labour’s a client. There are plenty more.

            In the economic structure we have you’re right that Finsec can’t stop these job cuts industrially. But they can do so politically, and they have the public’s support. So what’s your problem?

  6. Yeswecan 6

    My problem Tane is that as per usual the unions have not told the truth, I can organise and pay for a poll tomorrow that will give you the complete opposite of the results you claim prove that the public care about bank workers.

    The public care about paying the mortgage, they care about feeding their kids, they care about being over taxed (thanks to Cullen and Clarke) and they care about keeping their own jobs.

    Fincec organised this poll to bolster their own flagging fortunes, they organised it to try and scare more mugs into paying union dues.

    • Tane 6.1

      So your argument boils down to “I don’t like unions, the public don’t care, aren’t UMR a pack of dicks”?

      • Yeswecan 6.1.1

        Stumped for a decent reply are you Tane?

        My argument “boils” down to the lies Unions continue to tell and the sheer dishonestly of this poll.

        The left have to take the blame for the hardening attitude of so many “middle” Kiwi’s, when you have been financially raped by Labour for the last nine years they start to think about number one rather than their neighbours.

        • Tane

          Um, your argument boils down to an ad hominem attack that says UMR is dishonest. I don’t buy that. The question was clear, UMR’s methodology is sound. The rest is just that giant chip on your shoulder.

          • Yeswecan

            More lies Tane, I did not say that UMR are dishonest, I said that they were more than likely to tailor their questions to elicit the response those commissioning the poll wanted.

            Perhaps you see the weakness in your argument, if it came down to a choice between keeping jobs or lower mortgage rates I think the lower mortgage rates would win hands down.

            [lprent: Bad idea to abuse moderators on their own site. You of all people should know that (unless you wish to invoke the self-martyrdom clause of the policy). Skip the first 3 words next time.]

          • Tane

            Semantics. You’re calling UMR dishonest.

            As for your other argument, you haven’t demonstrated that this is the choice at stake.

            The banks are making healthy profits at our expense. What makes you think sending jobs overseas will lead to lower mortgage rates? It hasn’t so far.

    • jerry 6.2

      Actually the most recent poll I’ve seen says the majority of the public are not that fussed about tax cuts if it means they come at the cost of current public services.

      I also don’t see why you find it strange that the public would want a bit of quid pro quo on the back of the government providing them with some security.

  7. Yeswecan 7

    And these finsec workers (or ex finsec workers) can get a job here

  8. Yeswecan 8

    Duh…Banks are supposed to make a profit Tane, it’s how they manage to pay their employees.

    Keeping jobs in NZ is not going to get bring rates down either, send 99% of them off shore if it brings the rates down.

    • jerry 8.1

      Using that logic we should be able to get better rates from those banks that have a minimal presence in the local market eg HSBC, Bank Direct etc etc ….. do you know if this is the case ?

  9. Anthony Karinski 9

    Nationalise the banks. The government is more than capable of running them. In fact from the general public’s perspective they would probably be better at it than the private banks.

    Instead of having a debt fueled economy where financial entities generate credit out of nothing (propped up by the government through the central bank anyways) and use it to skim money off the real economy, we would be better off with the government taking on that responsibility. At least they could put the money back where it belongs. We would then stop some of the upwards transfer of wealth and assets from the working to those generating credit – who in many ways are nothing more than parasites sucking the real economy dry.

    So asset prices would probably drop as credit is reigned in compared to the folly of the schemes developed by bankers around the world in the last decade. But at least most people would own their own homes.

    • jerry 9.1

      Where’s the money going to come from to Nationalise the banks …. or are you suggesting we just tell the Australian owners that they belong to us and to fuck off ?

  10. SBlount 10


    It is bank credit that makes it possible to lift ourselves out of the circumstances we are born to. It is a common adage in business that if you need capital to start or grow a business, bank money is the best money. If you go for private capital it is usually at the expense of shares and control, bank money comes at the cost of interest but you keep all the shares and control. How does the average working family build/buy a house without credit? How do you open a shop without credit?

    There are some bad precedents for government owned banks, wherein credit is extended to inappropriate people for political purposes.

  11. Anthony Karinski 11

    I’m not suggesting we don’t need banks. We do. Neither that government run banks will be perfect. But they’re likely to work better for the majority of people i.e those working for a living instead of those deriving their income from assets or capital (which is often accumulated by stripping those working of their real assets after the burst of a debt bubble). The latter are in effect making their living by accruing a percentage of the earnings from those working and producing real wealth. Not only are they feeding off the real economy, they’re also creating the credit they extend and make their living out of from pretty much nothing. Free money.

    Government could go about this by setting up their own parallel banking system and pulling the guarantees they now provide for privately owned banks. I think I know where most people and businesses would take their custom.

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