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Are Australian Banks Bullies?

Monday , 4th April 2005
For immediate release

Are Australian Banks Bullies?

Comments by the Australian owners of New Zealand banks in Friday’s New Zealand Herald of the New Zealand Reserve Bank’s draft proposals on off-shoring have drawn strong criticism from Finsec, the union for bank workers. Australian bank owners claimed the Reserve Bank proposals would cost them up to $326 million per annum in lost efficiencies and increase prices to customers. Andrew Casidy, General Secretary of Finsec, rejected the claims, describing them as “a typical bullying reaction by Australian banks to not getting their own way”.

“They talked about ‘lost efficiencies’ that, for the most part, don’t yet exist. So threatening customers with higher prices is just blatant bullying. Especially given the huge profits these businesses already make for their owners at the expense of New Zealand customers. We have to agree with Massey University’s Director of Banking Studies, David Tripe, when he says the estimated losses seem ‘unbelievable’ and ‘far too high’.” said Casidy.

“The Reserve Bank is endeavouring to protect the integrity and stability of the New Zealand banking system. Many overseas central banks are currently considering exactly the same issues. The response from Australian owned banks is a complete overreaction.” he said.

“It speaks volumes about where the interests of these businesses really lie and is even more proof, if it were needed, of why it is vital that New Zealand retains its own independent Reserve Bank to oversee our banking system.” said Casidy.


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