The Commerce Commission’s announcement that it had reached an agreement with the ANZ bank over swap loans is both sad and cynical, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.
“The Commission has found failings by the bank but then lets them off the hook with a paltry $18.5 million payment for total absolution. Even Mother Teresa would struggle with this level of forgiveness for a bank that between 2005 and 2009 pocketed $6 billion in pre-tax profits.
“They have eliminated any possibility of a further investigation into the selling of millions of swap loans by the ANZ to New Zealand farmers between 2005 and 2009.
“The Commission has proved once again it is too gutless to take on the big boys. This decision fails to expose a practice that misled farmers into taking loans with unknown and hidden costs, leaving thousands out of pocket.
“The supermarkets walked away free, Chorus continues to overcharge for access to its copper network and the banks will now carry on milking farmers. The Commission needs to grow a pair or move over for an organisation that will act on behalf of hard working Kiwis, not the corporate giants.
“Many farmers were prevented from coming forward by confidentiality clauses in bailout packages when banks realised they were going to have to explain their swaps selling practices.
“In both the UK and Australia banks have been held to account for practices that were deemed misleading and unethical for lenders and investors who were ill equipped to understand these complex financial products. New Zealand has failed to do the same,” says Damien O’Connor.