Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bank Guarantees: Time for New Zealand Banks to return the Favour

This week ASB Bank got more publicity milage than Goldstein on speed when they announced via press release that they had NZ$ 1 billion burning a hole in their pocket and they wanted to use it to help out business to "encourage employment" during these hard economic times that all of us are facing.

Cynicism aside the announcement had everyone in Joe citizen land jumping for joy and business writers and politicians verbally clapping ASB on the back.

All well and good you might say, it was a brilliant move by the Bank, genuine or not but it left me thinking-what have you done for me lately.

I have been thinking that for the last 3 weeks when I took it upon myself to go down to my ASB in Albany, speak to my "personal banker" and ask him to see what he could do about my mortgage.

After Bryce reluctantly decided to meet with me "after hours" -6.00pm Thursday when the bank had a late night, I got down to business.

I wanted to renegotiate a lower mortgage interest rate, mine has 2.5 years left to run at 7.25%.

Now before you send me rude emails, yes I did sign a contract for 5 years so you are thinking I have some sort of obligation to my bank right?

Well, yes I do, in "normal" circumstances.

But as I rightly pointed out to Bryce at ASB Albany these sir are not "normal circumstances".

The world is facing financial oblivion, etc, etc( are you weeping yet? I really laid it on with a trowel)

Well, Bryce wasn't having a bar of my sob story ( I really was trying to squeeze him, I'm not hard-up, not yet anyway.) and he said we couldn't negotiate because it "wasn't bank policy", I pointed out to him again that the world was facing financial Armageddon and he gave me a poker face so good it seems he was well practiced at his craft.

I then thought to myself, I really had to pull out the big guns.

So I hit him with it!

But Bryce, the New Zealand taxpayer(what socialists call the Government) is guaranteeing your deposits and your borrowings from overseas (stony faced expression again) which makes your borrowing easier and cheaper, surely we can negotiate my mortgage.

"Its not our policy Darren".

Well, I thought this man is an immovable brick wall and I am wasting my time here. (nice coffee, water and kids games though.)

I then shook Bryce's hand, thanked him for his time and told him I would be back in a few months when things got worse and perhaps his bank would then reconsider their "policy".

Imagine the publicity should Brendan and ASB say yes next time I meet with him.

It would be worth at least a billion or two.


More Banking Madness @ Shareinvestor

Westpac: I'm Thinking of Returning