Decentralisation of banks – a return to High Street

There are 20 registered banks in New Zealand, but we have a largely foreign owned banking system. 90% if all banking assets in New Zealand are owned by the four large Australian banks.  In Australia the situation is similar with their largest banks being owned overseas. In the US four major banks dominated, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. This makes us vulnerable to an contagious financial instability or any banking or debt crisis.

The following banks are branches of overseas incorporated banks operating here: ANZ Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Citibank NA, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase NZ, Rabobank Netherlands, Tokyo-Mitsubishi Bank, Westpac. One or two have NZ branches as well.

JP Morgan Chase NA doesn’t have a branch here but it operates here

If a bank is “too big to fail” then it is too big. David Korten on Occupy Wall Street

The issue in New Zealand is that the majority of our banking assets are owned in Australia.

Citibank doesn’t have a branch here but operates in Customs St East

Only the TSB, PSIS, SBS and Kiwibank are owned in New Zealand. It is very difficult to start a new bank in New Zealand because the capital required is now $30 million.

Internationally the investment banks are more and more powerful. The CEO of Goldman Sachs “earns” $250,000 a day while his traders manipulate the price of food. Goldman Sachs’ commodities index is the most heavily traded in the world. Those who trade it have, by buying up and hoarding commodities futures, doubled and tripled the costs of wheat, rice and corn. Hundreds of millions of poor across the globe are going hungry to feed this mania for profit. And these investment banks are now in New Zealand exerting their influence.

Look to Nature. How would Nature design a system of banks?


  • We would rewrite the rules of global commerce to secure the right of each nation to regulate cross border financial and trade flows to keep them in balance, maintain national ownership of economic assets, and optimise national and economic self reliance.
  • We would require corporations (read banks in this case) that choose to operate in more than one country to charter an independent local subsidiary in New Zealand with majority ownership by New Zealand nationals. Each subsidiary would be democratically accountable to our government for following our laws. In the case of banks it would 100% NZ owned.
  • We favour locally owned and controlled banks and recommend banks owned by local authorities. The Bank of North Dakota is a good example. It is the only state bank in America and has enabled that state to remain without huge debts.  In Germany 70% of the banking sector is accounted for by two types of locally-based, locally-controlled and locally-owned banks. Only 12.5% of their banks are  large private banks. In order to do this, we first have to implement the requirement above so we have ownership in New Zealand.
  • We would reduce the requirements of the capital required to set up a bank so that it is feasible to have provincial banks which are locally owned and controlled.

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