Inquiry requested into rural banking

Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. 

“New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when they make big financial decisions – like buying their first home or opening a business. 

“In pursuit of that objective, today I have written to the Chairs of the Finance and Expenditure and Primary Production committees, requesting a Select Committee inquiry into banking competition. I have asked that the Finance and Expenditure Committee lead the inquiry, in conjunction with the Primary Production Committee, which will focus on rural banking.

“This request reflects the commitment outlined in the coalition agreement between National and New Zealand First.

“Growing the rural economy is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy and with farmers’ satisfaction with banking services dropping in recent years, it’s critical we better understand the role of bank competition in that sector.   

“That’s why I have asked the Primary Production Committee to work with the Finance and Expenditure Committee to jointly develop terms of reference, join meetings to hear submissions relevant to rural banking, and prepare a report on rural banking to feed into the overall inquiry.

“I would expect that the inquiry would, as a matter of course, hear submissions from those banks operating in New Zealand with chairpersons and chief executives being made available for questioning.

“A more competitive economy is a more productive economy – with more growth, innovation, and investment. Taking action to achieve a more competitive banking sector is all part of our plan to rebuild the economy, lift incomes, and improve the lives of all New Zealanders,” Ms Willis says.