Bank of China New Zealand Chairman Chris Tremain says despite capital constraints, the bank is well placed to compete in the residential mortgage market

Bank of China New Zealand Chairman Chris Tremain says despite capital constraints, the bank is well placed to compete in the residential mortgage market

Bank of China (New Zealand) Ltd, helping set the pace in the home loan market with aggressive interest rate offers, hopes to double the size of its mortgage book over the next two years.

Chris Tremain, Bank of China NZ's Chairman, told interest.co.nz the bank wants to both be competitive in the home loan market and grow its mortgage book.

"At the moment we're just under $1 billion in mortgage loans and we'd like to think that over the next couple of years we can double the size of that book," Tremain says.

"In terms of being nimble we can be. We come from a low cost base, we don't have a big retail real estate footprint that we have to serve. We're the ideal banking operation, I think, in terms of being able to be nimble, have low overheads and be able to provide excellent service to our clients."

Tremain said on top of working with mortgage brokers, Bank of China NZ has started to beef up internal resources so it can accept both "off the street" and online enquiry more easily. The bank also aims to expand its mortgage book further beyond New Zealand's Chinese community.

"That is a goal for us - to reach beyond the Chinese community. I don't have the breakdown in terms of the numbers of Chinese versus non-Chinese customers...the majority of our mortgage book would be Chinese," Tremain says.

Growth is, however, constrained by capital, he adds. Bank of China, one of China's four big state controlled banks, registered a subsidiary in New Zealand - Bank of China NZ, and a branch, Bank of China Ltd.

"They're two separate companies [and] Bank of China NZ has to have separate capital from Bank of China global. [There's] about $250 odd million [of capital] in that subsidiary right now," says Tremain.

"The branch does not require that and can use capital from the mother ship to grow. The idea is that it allows us a dual means of growing in the New Zealand market. But we are limited because our loan book can't be any larger in the branch than the subsidiary, [because] the Reserve Bank has a requirement that we cannot grow the branch any faster than the subsidiary."

In terms of obtaining capital from the ultimate parent bank, Tremain says Bank of China's NZ offshoot "lines up against the demands from a range of other offshore entities including the financial demands out of the growing Chinese economy. We line up against multiple international branches for what is scarce capital."

"So we're keen to continue to grow, albeit within those capital constraints," Tremain says.

Tremain was National Party MP for Napier from 2005-2014, and had roles including Chief Whip, Minister of Internal Affairs, and Deputy Chairman of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. He says the Bank of China NZ role was raised with him by a friend who works in director and executive recruitment. He then went through an interview process and got the job. Six years on Tremain says Bank of China NZ has grown from just four staff to 105, and has total assets approaching $4 billion across the subsidiary and branch.

"We came in to provide competition to the big Australian banks. I think that was entirely the reason why the Reserve Bank gave us a banking licence," Tremain says.

"We have come in and provided significant competition in the corporate space. In fact if you take both our subsidiary and our branch, three quarters of our loans at this point in time are in corporate and 92% of that is to New Zealand corporates."

Corporate loans across the sister banks stand at about $2.6 billion, Tremain says. As of March 31, Bank of China NZ had $954 million in residential mortgages after a 14.4% year-on-year increase, and total loans of $3.64 billion.

In terms of COVID-19 related loan deferrals, Tremain says in the corporate book these have now "moved through," and there is "some ongoing work with some of our mortgage book." He declined to provide specific details in relation to the volumes and values of COVID-19 related loan deferrals, but says it's a relatively small number in the mortgage book.

In terms of funding, Tremain says Bank of China sources one-third from local deposits, one-third from interbank financial institutions, and one-third from its head office.

Tremain is one of three independent directors on the Bank of China NZ board. The others are former National Party Finance Minister Ruth Richardson, and Sinead Horgan, who has previously worked in business and corporate banking for BNZ and ANZ. The three bank of China directors are Lei Wang, executive director of Bank of China NZ, Huaiyu Chen, Bank of China's Australia country head, and Mang Li who is general manager of the global transaction banking department at Bank of China in Beijing.

Bank of China NZ gained Reserve Bank approval to register as a bank in NZ in November 2014. Bank of China Ltd was registered as a branch in March 2018.

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52 Comments

20
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I hope people give this bank the widest berth possible. Maybe cite support for Hong Kong as your reason.

Obviously they offer a certain ethnicity service, what else though? Can’t help but visualise those old Steinbeck type novels, you know the ones where the banks foreclose on the hardpressed farmers.

19
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Losing ground world over so is this another way of penetrating countries by throwing easy and cheap money - shut everyone to not raise voice for vested interest.

Countries must beware as it may just be another tool of Chinesse government.

the only bank in NZ fully protects customers' wealth while all other banks only give back 50k when collapsing.

I know which one I am choosing.

12
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This is called poaching as now No threat from China is working be it war with most of its neighbour to expand territory by land and sea or economy war with Australia.......

Wow, just wow, I am so surprised

Don't think this is the case, Xingmowang. Chinese banks won't protect customers' wealth outside of China. They only protect customers in China depends on the situation. If there is a crisis happen, I dont think you can get your money back although they said you could. They have issues with honoring their words and contracts. Personally I wouldn't take their words / promises seriously. You can look at Sino-British Joint Declaration as one example.

Thanks for bringing the Sino-British Joint Declaration up.

The full text is here (https://www.cmab.gov.hk/en/issues/joint2.htm)

The bullet point b clearly says:

b. the Hong Kong SAR (HKSAR) will be directly under the authority of the Central People's Government and will enjoy a high degree of autonomy except in foreign and defence affairs which are the responsibilities of the Central People's Government;

12
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Congratulations Xing. You have earned 340,000 social credit points.

Hopefully moderators will remove these pro China comments. Disgusting to have anyone defending what is happening in Hong Kong, particularly if they enjoy the very rights Hong Kongers are losing!

Sorry, cant see any of "high degree of autonomy" at all after they bypassed Hongkong's own legislation system and forced their national security law on Hongkong people. This law is not foreign and defense affairs related at all, it's for silencing people's voices and extracting those who dont like Chinese government to Beijing.

Xing...aren't u happy you not in China now?

My friends in HK now have destroyed lives!

Hope your friends of anti-China, street-burning, shop-looting, police-stabbing, sperationists get a descent amount of jail time of minimum 10 yr in prison.

WOW... !

Agreed KR. This is typical sneering and abhorrent comment. Anti humanitarian. I think we all have had enough of it. Not welcome on this site, not welcome in our country. Now good reason to delist surely.

Those horrid Jews get what they deserve, eh Xing. Oh, I mean Hongkongers .

Dear Missy Chung, from all and every decent person in our good nation, welcome and we are proud to have you amongst us and our freedom. As for the other party though? No thanks.

Xing. You have been asked to dispel the rumours that China is engaging in sterilization. You have not replied, your continued silence is speaks for itself.

22
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Wow. Another reminder of the hand in glove relationship between NZ politicians and Chinese money.

19
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Always the same old suspects who will sell their country down the river for some directors fees.

Speaking of the cosy pakeha directors club, what happened to Jenny Shipley in the end?

Euurrrghhhhh. Good question. And it's disgraceful.

Unbelievable.

NZ politicians of a particular hue it would appear

10
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Let’s hope NZer’s aren’t stupid enough to sign up to owing the CCP dictatorship money! Borrow from a NZ bank and stop posting your hard earned money offshore.

Odds on all the “mortgage brokers” are being offered “finder” fees & the incentive of supplementary packages by this outfit, rewarding well beyond the norm. Don’t fall for it folks!

Not sure how sympathetic they would be if you needed to take a mortgage holiday due to job lost etc.. It's already well known that Chinese banks will seize your home regardless of whether it's in another country or not. Huffington Post Canada: Chinese CITIC Bank Looks To Seize Vancouver-Area Luxury Homes. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/06/28/chinese-bank-seize-vancouver-ho...

12
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And who becomes the owner of those properties when the mortgages are foreclosed on? The obvious question no one is asking. How does NZ law protect NZ property in this circumstance?

Exactly my thought. What are this Bank's recovery/foreclosure policies ?

Probably similar to what the Canadians experienced. This article may shed some light on your question. Better Dwelling article: The Chinese Government Just Seized Billions Worth of Canadian Real Estate. https://betterdwelling.com/chinese-government-just-seized-billions-worth...

Kind of related. I was reading an article that the Cooks and some other Pacific Islands will be bankrupt by September, and unless NZ can throw them a massive bailout or open the borders with the Pacific then they will have no choice but to borrow off China. No doubt be some strings attached, and this should hopefully be a concern to the government, especially for our National security.

Please don't sell your souls.

Great. Will be good to have more competition than just Aussie banks

Interested if anyone on here finds this an attractive proposition? My assumption is no, minus CCP bot.

14
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China threatens Australia over helping fleeing Hong Kong citizens.
The communist regime has warned there will be a “huge impact” to the Australian economy if the Government pushes ahead with a plan.

What a friendly country.

https://www.news.com.au/world/asia/china-threatens-australia-over-helpin...

So benevolent!

15
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I love how so many ex-National MPs are embedded in these Chinese-owned institutions.

Maybe they should change their party name to the 'Communist National Party' to fairly reflect their allegiance to the CCP and their beliefs?

That's probably best. National Socialist Party was already taken.

10
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It's ironic isn't it, NZ's so called 'free market' party cuddling up to a communist dictatorship!
It's a sad indictment of National. Many of them seem to place money and status over morals.
Labour may often be incompetent, but I think much of the time they at least have their moral compasses set soundly.

More than ironic methinks. Come September we are being asked to vote for either an incompetent party or an immoral party. Sad state of affairs anyway you look at it.

Yep. Nice way of summing it up.

Aye Foxglove, you have the right of it.

My small hope is that incompetence sometimes becomes competence with experience and a willingness to admit mistakes. Whereas National have clearly signalled that they have no intention of making a change this time (recent promotion of Jian Yang and Simon Bridges appointment to Foreign Affairs).

There's an interesting back story to WHY Chris Tremain left parliament (suddenly), this Chinese position would seem to suit his "moral compass" unfortunately...... I don't vote Labour, but I will because National is so dishonest/corruptible/greedy/selfish....and of course the CCP love a few skeletons in their Bank of China NZ's Chairman's closet......it helps with his motivation and compliance

Notice that the news article states about Tremain " He then went through an interview process and got the job." Seems a strange point to raise. This is expressed just so you know that this appointment is all about meritocracy and Tremain's political background (minister of internal affairs no less) had no bearing on his appointment.

This is what what we call execution of communications strategy. Tactical.

I wonder if Chris Tremain still has an interest in the family real estate agency in the Hawkes Bay. Perhaps the Bank of China could put someone in the Tremains office.

Who says you need guns and foot soldiers to colonize a country ?

I dont want to conflate National debt with private debt , but its indicative of China's plan

Just get the target up to its eyeballs in debt ...........Sri Lanka , Zambia , DRC , Sudan and some Pacific Islands who now owe as much as 20% of their nominal GDP to China

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Thus quoth Chairman Mao.But now in the updated edition of The Little Red Book it reads, infiltration first, subversion second, subjugation third. There it is.

I can't remember which one of the Termain boys I play in the final of the under 21 rugby final in Napier 1990. I had a stand up scrap with him center field. We won the game.. oh yeah.. Clive Rugby Club. Whoop whoop.
Kell Termain presented us with the trophy. Man he had huge hands, I remember my hand feeling the size of a 10 year olds when I shook his hand.

My moral compass dose not allow me to borrow off this bank due to the CCP and its treatment of it's population.

In 1969 we had a minor ding ding with a VW beetle in Napier. Quite a unsettling sight to see one Tremain senior unfold from the driver’s seat. Hands yes, but it was the tree trunk neck which awe struck me. Very, very powerful man, complete gentleman too boot.

Lol awesome.

Constrained capital? Yeah right! China has been creating money out of thin air on turbo, how else can you explain double digit growth and whole cities built that no body wants to live in...