May 24, 2018 / 2:11 AM / a year ago

New Zealand cenbank says domestic banks robust but not immune to threats

SYDNEY, May 24 (Reuters) - New Zealand’s central bank governor said on Thursday the country’s banks are not immune to risks and that regulators needed to step up compliance checks on the sector amid damaging revelations of misconduct by Australian lenders.

The major banks in New Zealand are all owned by Australia’s “Big Four” - Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Adrian Orr said the central bank is looking to build its resources to better regulate the banks, but did not providing any more details.

The four major Australian banks are facing a powerful inquiry called the Royal Commission following a torrent of scandals including interest rate rigging and dodgy financial advice.

The RBNZ is asking conduct- and culture-related questions of banks registered in the country, Orr said in an article published on its website.

“New Zealand’s financial ecosystem has been remarkably robust over recent decades but it is not immune to threats,” he said.

“The plethora of recent Australian-led banking inquiries is unprecedented,” he added.

“The concerns that gave rise to these inquiries should be heeded, not just by Australian-owned banks, but by all financial service providers in New Zealand, including our own domestically-owned banks and insurers.” (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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