The Greens are challenging the Reserve Bank over profits made by New
Zealand's big four Australian-owned banks.
The bank's governor, Graeme Wheeler, told a parliamentary committee this week
that Westpac, BNZ, ANZ and ASB were "about average" in international terms but
Green's co-leader Russel Norman says that's wrong.
"In 2011 the big four Australian banks made a pre-tax return of 1.19 per cent
on assets compared with a global average of 0.36 per cent," he said on
"Our Australian-owned banks are actually some of the most profitable in the
world, contrary to advice recently given to parliament by the Reserve Bank
The four banks are reported to have made a combined profit of nearly $3.5
billion in 2011/12 and Dr Norman says nearly all of it ended up in
"When you make the comparison of the profitability of our banks with the rest
of our economy, it's very clear they're making excessive profits to the
detriment of jobs and incomes," he said.
"Excessive bank profits act as a drag on the wider economy, raising the cost
of borrowing for productive enterprises, farmers and home owners."
Dr Norman says New Zealand can't afford to have a complacent regulator that
looks at excessive bank profits and then looks away.
ASB is owned by Commonwealth Bank, while BNZ is owned by National Australia