Thursday, 3 September 2009

“We need a full public inquiry into banking operations,” say Bad Banks campaigners

Bad Banks media release
2 September 2009

The operations of the Big Four Aussie-owned banks are harmful to the lives of ordinary Kiwis,” says Vaughan Gunson, publicity coordinator for Bad Banks, a recently initiated grassroots campaign against banking power.

ANZ National Bank, BNZ, Westpac and ASB have been making mega-profits from interest gouging grassroots Kiwis. In 2008, their combined income from loan interest went up $4.6 billion. Last year the profits of the Big Four totaled over $3 billion.

“And now, in a recession, these Bad Banks are king-hitting people who have lost their jobs or had their incomes cut,” says Gunson. “They’re inflicting penalties on people who can’t meet their mortgage payments and forcing mortgagee sales in increasing numbers.”

“They’re looking after their own equity position and chucking people out of their homes. It’s disgusting. These Bad Banks are part of a corporate culture of greed that’s sucking the life out of this country,” says Gunson.

While it's good that the Green, Labour and Progressive parties have gone ahead with their banking inquiry, the time frame for submissions was very short. That means there are only 11 oral submissions.

“11 oral submissions does not do justice to the devastating impact banking power is having on the lives of grassroots Kiwis,” says Gunson. “We need a full public inquiry, properly resourced and promoted, so that grassroots people can have their say and the Aussie-owned banks be held to account.”

“Any full public inquiry should allow for public meetings up and down the country, so that grassroots people can tell their stories.”

“We hope that MPs in the Green, Labour and Progressive parties are going to be part of an ongoing campaign against the banks,” says Gunson. “We need to confront corporate power full-on.”

The first goal of the Bad Banks campaign is to educate people about the operations of the banks. Bad Banks activists will be out on the streets in Auckland and other cities handing out leaflets and talking to people over the coming weeks and months.

“People can find out more about Bad Banks by going to our webpage We welcome any stories or comments on the banks,” says Gunson. “We’re looking to reach out to other groups, organisations and individuals to help build this campaign.”

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