Jonesy has a crack at foreign owned banks

Shane Jones has moved his sights from Air New Zealand to foreign owned banks: Quote:

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has taken aim at this country’s Australian-owned banks for shutting branches in provincial town, suggesting they should be?obligated to adequately service rural areas.

“The Aussie-owned banks are incredibly profitable. Their level of profitability never seems to decline although the breadth of their services is in decline,” he told?Stuff.

Over the past two years, almost 50 Westpac, BNZ and ANZ branches have closed, which was evidence of a retreat from the regions, according to the bank workers’ union.

Jones said this country’s banks, which are predominantly Australian-owned, needed to take their responsibility to rural customers more seriously.

“I’ve visited a lot of the more benighted regions of New Zealand and an enormous number of people have historically watched the end of the post office and the presence of other key services, and they are horrified that the banks are retreating.”

He planned to speak with Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr about whether banking licences should require a certain level of service to regional New Zealand..

“It is not sustainable to enjoy a banking licence and the pleasure of ever-increasing super profits and turn your back on our rural areas,” he said. End quote.

The article seems to focus on ANZ Bank and I’m certainly picking up on a? few alarming stories of excesses by that bank, particularly in the Waikato region.

It isn’t just the closure of branches that is happening, there are managers out there using their own political views to attack regional businesses who they consider need to be taught a lesson. I am aware of one particular business that lost a $500k export order because of the actions of an ANZ Bank manager.

When I spoke to the regional manager I was met with a haughty and arrogant response. I have to say their corporate relations person was far more willing to discuss matters, but the actions of this former bank manager are certainly alarming.

ANZ has swallowed up other banks to become an uncaring behemoth. Most of rural New Zealand would bank with ANZ after the Rural bank was swallowed by the National Bank and then the National Bank was swallowed by ANZ.

The Aussie banks are copping massive fines in Australia for untoward and in some instances criminal behaviour as a result of a major investigation into banking practices in Australia. Commonwealth Bank has recently been fined several billion dollars from actions stemming from the time of governance of a well known Kiwi.

It beggars belief that the government has failed to instigate a similar review of banking practices in New Zealand as it seems unlikely that the Aussie owned banks will have been operating differently in New Zealand than they have been operating in Australia. Perhaps Shane Jones should look at that as potential remedy?

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