Credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service says the immediate impact on the country's major banks from the Canterbury earthquake is likely to be a rise in loan delinquency rates.
Moody's said the major banks - ANZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac - had exposure to Christchurch that was, on average, about 10% of their loan portfolios.
"In this respect, the immediate impact will be a rise in delinquency rates due to disruptions to business and as some individual borrowers face unemployment, or are forced to take unpaid leave," Marina Ip, a Moody's assistant vice president and analyst said.
Overall Moody's said the damage costs resulting from the earthquake will have only limited negative implications on insurers and banks.
Due to "very conservative" reinsurance arrangements, the expected losses retained by general insurers would be minimal with the bulk of the losses covered by the government owned Earthquake Commission.