NZ Union Calls for More Banking Regulations

January 12, 2010 New Zealand FinanceNew Zealand Taxation

Caution tapeA New Zealand union has called for the government to increase regulations on the banking sector, claiming that the country’s four largest banks paid over 220 percent of their profits in dividends while lowering conditions for workers.

The New Zealand finance sector union Finsec has cried out in protest to ANZ, Westpac, BNZ and ASB banks paying out large dividends while allegedly making jobs redundant, freezing wages and outsourcing work. According to Finsec, the combined profit in 2009 for the four largest banks was NZD790 million, while their dividend issue exceeded NZD1.7 billion.

In a media statement Finsec said that there is a gross misbalance between the amount of protection the banks have provided to their shareholders, and the amount of assistance they have provided towards New Zealand’s economic recovery. According to the union, banks should be required to maintain local staff numbers in exchange for being underwritten by the Government’s wholesale borrowing and retail deposit guarantee schemes. The media stament went on to say “The Government needs to toughen its regulation of the banks to include social responsibility and national interest measures to stop this immoral preference towards overseas shareholders over the local economy and staff”.

Photo by Finsec