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Kiwis lining banks’ pockets

New figures show that the ‘big four’ Australian banks in New Zealand are creaming Kiwis, making higher profit margins here than they do across the ditch, Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.

“They are some of the most profitable banks in the Western world, generating a return here of 1.6 per cent pre-tax profit as a percentage of total assets last year, compared with Australia’s 1.28 per cent. (The US was 1.1 per cent and the UK 0.39 per cent).

“We’re a soft target and a nice little earner for Aussie banking giants. The government should be demanding a better deal for New Zealand households.

“ANZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac together account for more than 86 per cent of our banking market – and the bulk of their profits go straight to their owners across the Tasman.

“New Zealanders delivered them a net profit after tax of $4.4 billion last year – a giant step up from $3.6 billion the year before.

“This year the profits are expected to go even higher.

“An example of where Kiwis are paying through the nose is on credit card interest. We still pay around the same interest rate on them – more than 17 per cent – as we did eight years ago, despite bank borrowing rates plummeting five points to 3 per cent in that time.

“No one is arguing the banks shouldn’t be making a profit but these tactics are not only unfair, they’re a rort.”