Banking and finance briefs:, BNZ, ANZ losers in Finsec survey, Hotchin building halts (Update 1)

Banking and finance briefs:, BNZ, ANZ losers in Finsec survey, Hotchin building halts (Update 1)

1. BNZ, ANZ, 'annoying cross sellers' (Update adds ANZ comments) Bank customers say BNZ and ANZ are the most annoying cross selling exponents, according to a survey by bank workers union Finsec. Rob Stock in The Sunday Star-Times reported that 38% of BNZ customers who responded to the surveysaid they felt "always under pressure to take another product" compared to 35% of respondents who bank with ANZ.

Finsec general secretary Andrew Casidy said, unlike financial advisers, bank staff did not have to disclose these incentives when selling a financial product like a credit card or a term deposit. And the pressure on staff to push products could be high, he said. "What about that person being sold that credit card? Are they aware the person offering it to them is one sale away from their $1000 bonus, or if they are still short of hitting their target and so won't get a salary increase next year, and will be called into the office to face having to have an improvement plan drawn up for them?" BNZ defended the practice, saying it believed targets were part of running a successful business. "Staff can choose whether to have team or individual targets. In addition, targets are just one factor in the mix of assessing performance, they would be married with other factors such as customer satisfaction."

Meanwhile, ANZ said it was disappointed Finsec was making unfounded allegations about banks based on the results of "an incredibly loaded and biased questionnaire."

"It is simply not true that staff salary increases are linked to staff meeting sales targets, as Finsec alleges in its survey. "Staff received salary increases based on overall competency in their role including measures such as customer service, product knowledge, teamwork and initiative. On average, less than 5 per cent of their income is based on bonus payments." 2. Momi shenanigans continue The Unit Trust of Fiji is trying to recover F$12.5 million (NZ$8.9 million) invested in the Momi Bay Development into which failed New Zealand finance company Bridgecorp sank NZ$106.6 million, The Fiji Times reports. Bridgecorp's receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers have told the firm's beleaguered investors to expect a complete loss on their Momi exposure.
The Unit Trust of Fiji is seeking to recover its F$12.5million investment in the Momi Bay Development through a mortgagee sale of over 300 acres of freehold land. UTOF with the Banaban Trust (F$1m) invested in stages two and three of the development, which included the construction of the Ritz Carlton Resort, the expansion of the golf course and residential lots. The Momi Bay Development project was to have cost a tune of F$225m and would have been another Denarau for Fiji, the same concept for the Natadola Tourism Development project. The financial model for such concepts "spends"on the construction of hotels, resorts and golf courses with revenue coming from the sale of residential lots. Last year, following a directive by the Capital Markets Development Authority, the UTOF hired accountancy firm G Lal & Co to assist them in improving the management of the trust. One of the concerns of the CMDA was the non-performance of the Momi loan. The UTOF also sought the FNPF to take over its exposure but this may have fallen through. The Fiji National Provident Fund invested in the first stage of the development, taking over the Fiji Development Bank exposure and lending F$74m to the project developers Matapo Limited, a subsidiary of Bridgecorp Company Limited. The Bridgecorp Company Limited collapsed last year in New Zealand with over 14,000 investors losing their investments of around F$500m. Its directors were taken to court for making false statements in the company annual reports and prospectuses. The company claimed it invested over F$100m into the Momi development. It conducted an auction of the property but the highest bidder was only F$44m. FNPF has already written off F$18m from the Momi project. FNPF chief executive and UTOF chairman Aisake Taito could not be reached for a comment.
3. Work halted on Hotchin's mansion Mark Hotchin has called a halt to work on his nearly complete US$50 millon Paritai Drive mansion because he can no longer afford to pay his contractors, The Sunday Star Times reported. The gates were padlocked at the site of Hotchin's unfinished home on Friday. Trades contractors were told there was no more money to continue building. Hotchin, meanwhile, in holidaying in Hawaii. 4. Serepisos coughs up most of his rates bill The Dominion Post reports that property tycoon, Wellington Phoenix owner and host of the Apprentice TV show Terry Serepisos has paid most of his NZ$2 million rates bill owing to Wellington City Council.
A short statement issued yesterday by Mr Serepisos' Century City company said he had "paid the majority of rates" to the council. All remaining rates owing would be paid in due course, he said. "Payments yet to be made to the ... council were for rates that were not yet overdue."
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