Thursday 2 May 2019
Bank of New Zealand’s (BNZ) increased focus on customers and communities has underpinned a strong result for the first half of the 2019 financial year.
“The first six months have been all about enabling our people to deliver the basics brilliantly for BNZ customers, backing our regions, and supporting at-risk communities across New Zealand. We have purposefully realigned the business to deliver improved customer outcomes, and we’re encouraged by our progress to date and excited about the future,” says BNZ CEO Angie Mentis.
BNZ has announced a statutory net profit1 for its BNZ Banking Group2 of $550 million for the six months ended 31 March 2019, with operating revenue3 increasing by 9.0% over the prior comparable period.
Operating revenue growth was supported by strong housing and business loan growth and improved net interest margin. Statutory net profit was impacted by the gain on the sale of BNZ’s 25% shareholding in Paymark and unfavourable mark to market movements on offshore debt instruments. “This performance demonstrates we’re on track to deliver on our key strategic themes for 2019 and beyond,” says Ms Mentis.
Announcing BNZ’s results today, Ms Mentis updated progress on those themes:
• BNZ has supported the regions with $800 million in new lending to businesses in the regions ($10 billion available over five years)
• Driving innovation and simplification of BNZ products and making it easier to do business with us by creating simpler ways to open accounts and delivering products that meet the needs of our customers
• Continued commitment to improving financial wellbeing with 55,000 New Zealanders having a financial health check with BNZ in the past six months
BACKING THE REGIONS
“We remain committed to supporting businesses and this half of the financial year, we’ve helped 8,800 small and medium enterprises to start or grow their businesses wherever they are based, creating meaningful opportunities right across New Zealand”, says Ms Mentis.
With $10 billion available over five years, BNZ has supported the regions with $800 million in new lending so far this financial year.
BNZ is also launching the first of a range of initiatives to find new ways of personalising banking, especially in the regions.
“The first Mobile BNZ will visit towns across the Manawatu-Wanganui region in June 2019. BNZ customers there can meet a banker in person without having to drive to Palmerston North. We’re starting in Pahiatua, Marton and Foxton with other towns to follow,” says Ms Mentis.
In addition to this new initiative, BNZ’s commitment made in November 2018 to maintaining its 153 branch network stands.
SUPPORTING AT-RISK COMMUNITIES
“We’re continuing to work hard to support our communities,” says Ms Mentis. “Being an active part of so many New Zealand communities gives BNZ the opportunity to helpcustomers plan for the future and offer increased financial security for those most in need,” says Ms Mentis.
“For us, taking an active part in communities also means making a difference where it’s needed most. We’ve partnered with The Salvation Army to establish ‘The Good Shop’ which aims to support communities with high quality goods and services at fair prices directly to their homes. At the same time, we’re also able to undermine the business models of lenders who take advantage of some of our most vulnerable communities.”
“We’re ramping up our Community Finance programme with Good Shepherd that offers zero and low interest loans by doubling the number of Good Shepherd loan workers in communities where they are most needed,” says Ms Mentis. “We’ve already had nearly 5,000 conversations since Community Finance launched four years ago and helped more than 1,400 customers with nearly $4 million in lending.”
“As we come into winter we’re also providing a $1 million interest free credit line to help Habitat for Humanity to carry out more urgent repairs and alterations for low-income homeowners throughout the North Island. This means that more of the great work Habitat for Humanity does can be fast tracked to help ensure people in need can stay in their homes with the support they require,” says Ms Mentis.
CONTINUED CUSTOMER FOCUS
Our customers want banking to be easy and we have continued our focus on reducing the number of products and simplifying fees.
BNZ recently provided a comprehensive response to the Financial Markets Authority and Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s review of conduct and culture in the New Zealand banking industry.
“Our response highlighted BNZ’s focus and resolve on conduct to do the best we can for our customers and outlines our plan to meet the increasing expectations of our customers and stakeholders.”
“Proactively fixing issues where we find them is key to delivering great customer outcomes, and continuing to listen and proactively support New Zealanders is the right thing for BNZ to do,” says Ms Mentis.
HELPING NEW ZEALANDERS ACHIEVE THEIR HOME OWNERSHIP GOALS
In the first half of this financial year, BNZ has increased its share of the housing loan market by 1.2x the market growth rate and helped more than 7,500 New Zealanders realise their home ownership goals, with 2,500 of those being first home buyers.
“Our housing loan growth was particularly pleasing as we know home ownership plays a key role in New Zealanders’ sense of on-going financial wellbeing and people are looking to BNZ to help take this important step,” says Ms Mentis.
“BNZ is also expanding the options available for first home buyers to get into the market with the introduction of a shared-ownership pilot programme,” says Ms Mentis.
FAST + SIMPLE = BETTER BANKING
“We’re accelerating our drive to deliver a fast and simple banking experience for our customers.
Our “Anywhere Sign-Up” launch is proof of that with around 10% of new account openings using the selfie sign-up function. With our new online pin set-up, we have improved the self-service experience to join BNZ. These are just the sort of banking experiences customers expect when choosing who they give their business to.
There is more innovation in BNZ’s digital pipeline to come, all aimed at enhancing our customers’ experience,” says Ms Mentis.