25 March 2005
Media release – for immediate release
ASB attempts to discredit ''Unbeatable'' with BankDirect advertising
Bank of New Zealand says ASB is using its niche operator, BankDirect, to muddy the waters for home loan customers in an attempt to discredit the Bank’s successful ‘Unbeatable’ campaign.
Full-page advertisements published in large circulation publications on Saturday 19 March, including the New Zealand Herald and The Dominion Post, claimed: “BNZ continues to claim they have the best home loan offer in the market when clearly they don’t”.
Peter Douglas-Bell, Bank of New Zealand’s Head of Communications and Brand, says ASB is hiding behind BankDirect to claim they have a better two-year fixed rate than Bank of New Zealand.
“Consumers can do the math; ASB’s two-year fixed rate is 7.80 per cent pa. Bank of New Zealand’s ‘Unbeatable’ two-year rate is 7.60 per cent pa. It’s the cheapest two year rate of the big five banks by at least 0.20 per cent pa, no questions asked.”
Mr Douglas-Bell says BankDirect aren’t included in the ‘Unbeatable’ campaign because it’s akin to comparing a luxury car to a motor-scooter. “BankDirect is a tiny player in the mortgage market – they’re a virtual bank, generally at arms length from the customer. We know home loan customers want two things; outstanding rates and even better service. That’s exactly what we give customers.”
Mr Douglas-Bell says the advertisements show that ‘Unbeatable’ is getting under the skin of competitors. “Our competitors know that we will not be beaten on price, so they’re resorting to underhand advertising to confuse home loan buyers.”
“The reality is this: we don’t use mortgage brokers to sell our loans and we don’t incur third-party costs or inducements because of it. It means Bank of New Zealand is able to offer some of the most competitive rates in the market.”
Mr Douglas-Bell believes ASB have recognised they overshot the mark with the advertisements, which he says, effectively questioned Bank of New Zealand’s honesty. He says that Wednesday’s version of the BankDirect advertisement had ‘softened’ considerably from the one initially published on Saturday 19 March.
“References to ‘BankDirect on other hand (sic) has an honest, upfront approach to banking’, have been removed from the copy. It’s proof that ASB got nervous about its own advertising.”
The Bank will respond to ASB’s claims, using full-page advertisements in major newspapers around the country, starting this Sunday in the Sunday Star-Times and Herald on Sunday.
In related news, Bank of New Zealand has extended the drawdown date condition for ‘Unbeatable’ to the end of April.