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Alliance ‘state bank’ could backfire says Greens

The Green Party is urging the Labour-led government to initiate greater
co-operation between existing New Zealand owned financial institutions rather than adopt the Alliance’s proposal for a new state bank.

“We agree with the Alliance that hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders would rather bank locally than have to put their money in foreign owned banks,” said Greens Co-leader Rod Donald.

“But their proposal could backfire by threatening the viability of New Zealand’s only 100 percent locally owned bank, the TSB of Taranaki, and putting smaller institutions such as credit unions and building societies out of business.

“Instead, the new government should take the initiative by calling a meeting between the TSB, the Southland Building Society and other building societies, the PSIS (Public Service Investment Society) and the Credit Union Movement to discuss ways they can work more closely together.

“Ideally this initiative would lead to the formation of a nation-wide network of community banks, similar to the very popular Trustee Savings Banks, with the TSB acting as the central hub and the other organisations providing the branch network.

“In those areas where there’s no existing service the TSB could go into partnership with the local community along the lines of the Bendigo model in Australia where the Bendigo Bank has successfully set up joint venture branches.

“We believe a community banking network would be extremely popular because people like to know their money is re-invested in their local community and that the surpluses are also returned to their community rather than profits heading off shore. Trustbank proved that beyond doubt before they were sold of to Westpac,” he said.

Contact Rod Donald on 025 507 183 or 03 366 3292 or 03 332 5765

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