Banks: The four Australian-owned banks in NZ

New Zealand’s retail banking system is dominated by four Australian owned banks,which between 2004 and 2011 sucked $28.5 billion in profits out of New Zealand.

These profits are made out of the savings, investments and mortgages of New Zealanders. This profit could have been used to fund New Zealand’s health care system for two full years.

  • Four Australian-owned banks dominate New Zealand’s retail market – ANZ National, BNZ, Westpac and ASB. 
  • These four banks make super-profits – Collectively they made $14.42 billion between 2008-2011, a $340 million increase from $14.08b between 2004-2008. In the first half of the 2013 financial year they made cash profits of $1.8 billion. 
  • Australia’s banks are the world’s most profitable banks – The Bank for International Settlements has ranked Australia’s big four banks (ANZ, Commonwealth (owns ASB), Westpac and National Australia Bank (owns BNZ)) most profitable in the developed world, three years in a row. 
  • Unfair fees – The Fair Play on Fees campaign estimates that the ‘banks have levied over $1 billion in exception fees to NZ consumers over the past six years.’ 
State-owned Kiwibank made a 2011-2 yearly net profit of nearly $80 million equal to the cost of operations grants for New Zealand schools.

Kiwibank shows that state-ownership of the entire banking system is possible and profitable.

Bringing the Aussie four banks New Zealand operations into state-ownership would allow the New Zealand government to substantially reduce debt levels without cutting social services or raising taxes.



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