Fewer than half of Kiwi customers say banks can be trusted

Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 24 April 2019, 4:50PM
The Banking Authority says much of what is being complained about is on the way out. (Photo / Getty)

The head of the New Zealand Bankers' Association is playing down calls for more industry regulation.

It comes after a Consumer NZ survey found customers tend to be satisfied with their banks overall but less than half think banks can be trusted and almost two-thirds doubt they have their customers' best interests at heart.

60 per cent of respondents were happy with the service they were getting from their bank. However, only 47 per cent said they think banks can be trusted and only 35 per cent said they think banks have their best interests at heart.

About 68 per cent think bank profits show banks are charging too much and only 33 per cent agreed that banks charge customers fairly and that competition keeps their charges competitive.

About 70 per cent agree that banks need to be monitored more closely to protect consumers from irresponsible practices.

The survey found one in five have been offered products such as credit cards that they didn't ask for and didn't want.

Credit cards, increases in credit card limits, life insurance and personal loans were the most common products promoted to customers.

However, Bankers' Association chief Roger Beaumont says a Government review of the industry last year found no widespread issues.

"On top of that, bankers have also removed or in the process of removing all sales incentives for their staff, and that will be in place later this year for all the major banks that took part in that review." 

He told Heather du Plessis-Allan that just because a bank offers you a product you haven't asked for, that doesn't mean it is a bad thing. 

Beaumont cites the example of someone who has debt on a credit card they can't pay down, and that a personal loan for that amount would be a better interest rate. 

"The customer might perceive that they don't want a personal loan, but in that situation, it is actually to their benefit."

He says it is disappointing that people are feeling pressured, but that the removal of those sale incentives is still a process to get rid of these methods. 

Beaumont says that it will take time for the message to be passed around between the company. 

"I think the majority of banks have removed these processes, it's just a flow on effect for a few in the final stages of removing them."

The results - drawn from a nationally representative poll of 2,118 consumers - are similar to those in last year's survey. A survey the Financial Markets Authority and Reserve Bank conducted last year found that 24 per cent of customers had been offered products they didn't want or need.

Marcus Lush Nights

Marcus Lush Nights

8PM - Midnight