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Credit Unions Concerned About Kiwibank Schemes

PRESS RELEASE

AUCKLAND, WEDNESDAY 8 OCTOBER 2003 – New Zealand Credit Unions have expressed concern about the growing number of anti-competitive government-backed schemes launched by Kiwibank.

“Credit Unions, who are the alternative banking solution, offer affordable financial services to people of modest means and whilst Kiwibank serves the same market they have never been a real threat to Credit Unions. However, this new government-backed no-deposit mortgage scheme gives Kiwibank a competitive advantage which we believe in the long-term will be a disservice to communities”, said Doug McLaren, CEO of the New Zealand Association of Credit Unions.

Mr McLaren stated that Credit Unions strive to provide low income families with the opportunity of home ownership as it is our aim is to empower them to attain financial independence. He said, “We are most unhappy that the government had not discussed this scheme with us prior to its launch as Credit Unions serve the same market as Kiwibank and already provide affordable financial services to 180,000 New Zealanders.”

Credit Unions provide safe and sound financial services to their members and as Credit Union members are not merely customers but actually own a stake in the Credit Union, this will potentially impede their opportunity for growth and ability to reinvest funds within the community to help others.

“We applaud measures to help people of modest means move ahead and we hope that the government will consider extending this scheme, which is on trial with Kiwibank, to Credit Unions and other sound financial co-operatives that have the best interest of communities at heart”, commented Mr McLaren.

Being 100% community owned and operated, Credit Unions have the added advantage of ensuring that funds are reinvested within the community in keeping with the Credit Union Movement’s worldwide philosophy of “People Helping People”. Credit Unions pride themselves in being community focused and strive to enhance their products and services to meet the needs of their members and the community alike.

The New Zealand Association of Credit Unions

The Association was established in 1961 as the Credit Union League and later changed its name in 1989. Today, the Association has 43 Member Credit Unions in almost 100 locations nationwide, representing more than 172,000 Credit Union members, with a total asset size in excess of $440 million.

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