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It's a tie! BNZ and Westpac both win 'worst' title

MEDIA RELEASE

Finsec
the finance workers' union

6 March 2006
For immediate release

It's a tie! BNZ and Westpac both win 'worst' title

Judges of the annual Roger Awards, which recognise the worst-behaved transnational company in New Zealand, tonight declared BNZ and Westpac joint winners of the 2005 competition.

Finsec, the bank workers' union, is eager to work with the two banks to help them avoid this award in the future. Staff in both BNZ and Westpac raised concerns last year about the way the banks used their pay systems to encourage the sale of debt to New Zealanders. They argued it was stressful for staff and bad for customers and the economy.

"This award is one symptom that staff and customers at banks in New Zealand want a bit more respect from their banks." Said Finsec Communications Organiser, Stephen Day.

"Banks are an important part of the community, and that's why the community is concerned about their practices. Australian banks, BNZ and Westpac, have some work to do to repair the relationship that have with New Zealanders but it's not difficult. Staff and customers would both benefit if banks' moved their focus from constant short-term profits to being long-term members of our communities. Staff want bank's to recognise their skills and experience instead of their output and sale of debt to customers. And we think customers want the same thing; a focus on service rather than more and more lending."

"We've got three simple steps that we want to try with the banks to improve their standing in the community:

.. replace their pay systems that reward sale of debt, with ones that reward skills and experience,
.. reduce customers' and workers' stress by improving staffing numbers,
.. prioritise the needs of New Zealand customers over the global needs of large Australian owners."

ENDS

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