NZ Commerce Commission Places Aussie Banks in its Crosshairs
(23 June 2023 – New Zealand) The New Zealand (NZ) competition regulator is probing Australian banks with a competition inquiry to counter growing concerns the Big Four are generating excessive profits across the Tasman.
Australia’s Big Four majors including ANZ, CBA (ASB), NAB (BNZ) and Westpac cumulatively representing up to 90 percent of deposits and 85 percent of loans. Outside the Big Four the NZ market is held by domestic banks including Kiwi Bank, TSB, Co-operative Bank, SBS, Heartland Bank and Chinese lenders. HSBC confirmed it is withdrawing from NZ retail banking.
The NZ Commerce Commission is anticipated to release a preliminary issues paper in Q3 2023 and deliver its findings in Q3 2024 ahead of the NZ election.
“If you’re a person struggling with the increase in the cost of living, struggling with the costs of food, and you turn around and see the profits that banks are making, you have legitimate questions. That’s what this study is designed to answer” said NZ Finance Minister Grant Robertson.
“There are long-standing concerns the market is not working well for New Zealanders. Banks have consistently made high profits over several years and their NZ returns are higher than in other markets” Mr Robertson added.
“This is a chance to get facts on the table. It is critical the inquiry be centred on facts not soundbites.” Commented ANZ NZ CEO Antonia Watson.
“I’m super confident that we are in an incredibly competitive market. The time that we are in right now, when things are looking a bit tougher, banks are exactly what you want to have, and I would like to be putting resources into helping our customers through the cost of living crisis. That’s where I would rather spend my time.”