By Gareth Vaughan
ANZ's chief executive officer wants the country's biggest bank to lift its profile and believes its contribution to the New Zealand economy is "under estimated."
David Hisco, an Australian who took the reins at ANZ New Zealand in September and relocated from Melbourne to Auckland, also says he wants ANZ to be New Zealand's best bank.
Asked at a media briefing by interest.co.nz if he thought ANZ was already, or wasn't, the country's best bank Hisco said it was a big bank.
"Obviously we’re the biggest bank. I think there’s a lot more we can do to be the best bank," said Hisco. "The research shows that we need to improve our connectedness with New Zealand."
"We’re one of the biggest employers in New Zealand, we’re the biggest company in New Zealand, we have a massive amount of money invested in New Zealand," Hisco added.
"Yet people don’t seem to recognize that. I don’t think they appreciate what our contribution to New Zealand is."
ANZ will be the official bank of next year's Rugby World Cup and Hisco said he hoped this would help the bank get its message across a bit better.
"We sponsor a lot of charities, we do a lot of things yet still there are a lot of people that bank National (Bank) and don’t even know that it’s owned by ANZ," Hisco added.
"So we could do a lot more to make people realise that actually we’re making a pretty good contribution to the economy."
He noted ANZ had been the first bank to respond to the Pike River coal mine tragedy on Wednesday night, opening an account at both ANZ and National Bank branches nationwide to take donations for the families of the 29 miners believed to have died in the Pike River mine. ANZ itself donated NZ$100,000.
Hisco said the Pike River tragedy was awful.
"Our people feel terrible about it. Eleven of those people down there are our customers," he said.
"We don’t look for thanks for doing this sort of stuff, we just think it’s the right thing to do when you’re big in the community."
As of September 30, ANZ had 9,412 staff. In the year to September ANZ made a NZ$867 million profit, paying NZ$338 million of tax in the year. As of September 30, it had net loans of NZ$96 billion and customer deposits of NZ$59.7 billion.
Hisco's comments come with ANZ New Zealand's parent under fire in Australia, along with the other big three Australian banks, as politicians discuss ways to increase competition in the banking market.
And they come 11 months after the ANZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac agreed to settle a long running tax dispute with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) over structured finance transactions, agreeing to pay NZ$2.2 billion, or 80% of what IRD was seeking plus interest.
Meanwhile, Hisco also expressed scepticism about customer satisfaction surveys which consistently rate the ANZ brand less popular with customers' than its major rivals. The latest Roy Morgan New Zealand Banking Customer Satisfaction Survey, for example, placed ANZ last of the seven banks surveyed (with the National Bank fourth) in terms of the percentage of customers' very or fairly satisfied.
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