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Plan to Sell Kiwibank Doesn't Add Up

21 February 2005

Hon Jim Anderton MP, Progressive Leader

National's plans to sell successful Kiwi owned bank don't add up as first profit announced

As the champion of a New Zealand owned bank, in a period when foreign owned banks were closing down their branches and regularly increasing their fees, Progressive Leader Jim Anderton is celebrating Kiwibank's report of its first 6-month profit announced today.

"Many New Zealanders will join me in celebrating Kiwibank's first six monthly profit of $2.5 million. In a market packed with big foreign owned banks, Kiwibank has managed to provide low cost banking and reach targets well ahead of time.

"National needs to consider what they are going to lose by selling our only New Zealand owned nationwide bank. They will certainly lose the votes of 299,760 proud customers, (expanding at the rate of 200 per day) and the clients of 306 branches around the country.

"Small business people are now looking forward to banking with a low cost kiwi-owned bank as Kiwibank is about to move into business banking. National is going to ruin businesses' chances of cheap banking services and access to the biggest branch network in the country if they continue to flounder around on the issue of whether they'll sell or not. That's not a good enough answer for business people, nor for those proud customers who enjoy the services of a New Zealand owned bank.

"Kiwibank has introduced a competitive market for banking in New Zealand and all banking customers have benefited from that. While the big banks suggest that they've dropped bank fees and mortgage rates and stopped closing branches on their own initiative, it's interesting that they didn't bother to do it before Kiwibank came on the scene with low cost banking and cheap mortgages.

"Kiwibank has exceeded all the targets in its business plan and provided additional services such as the 'In Reach' mortgages for low income families and text banking, and is about to provide business banking and its own ATM network. It certainly has been a worthwhile endeavour, that National would be crazy to ruin," Jim Anderton said.

Kiwibank today announced it's first six month profit of $2.5 million, home loans of $1.2 billion, deposits of $1.18 billion, 306 branches and 299,760 customers.

ENDS

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