Deputy Mayor advocates to the banking sector

Publish Date : 28 Mar 2024
Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson

Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson and members of the Tāmaki Makaurau Recovery Office leadership team met with representatives from the New Zealand Banking Association (NZBA) recently to discuss Auckland’s recovery. This is part of Auckland Council’s ongoing programme of advocacy to the banking and insurance industry, on behalf of storm-affected homeowners.

“When I’ve been meeting people in impacted communities, I’ve heard from many homeowners that they’ve struggled to get support for their unique situation from their banks, or that they’re reluctant to make use of products such as mortgage holidays because of fear it could impact their credit rating,” says Deputy Mayor Simpson.

“One of the things that I hadn’t appreciated before meeting with the NZBA was that in many cases, banks don’t have much discretion under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA) to give quick loans and overdrafts in an emergency – the regulations simply don’t allow it. And when it comes to credit ratings, that’s the domain of the external credit bureaus rather than the banks.

“Unfortunately, we can’t fix this situation for current homeowners that are impacted, but I want to work alongside the banking industry to advocate to government for a legislation change so that the next time this happens, there’s better flexibility for banks to provide financial support more quickly for those that need it following an emergency,” says Simpson. 

The advice from the NZBA to storm-affected homeowners was clear – talk to your bank early if you are concerned about your financial situation. Although it’s a difficult conversation to have, speaking to your bank early will mean there may be more assistance options available to you. Most banks have dedicated hardship teams to support customers with financial challenges, so ask to speak to a member of that team to get specialised advice.

If you’re not satisfied with how your bank is responding to your request for support, you should first write to them and ask them to resolve the issue. If you’re still not satisfied, you can make a complaint to the Banking Ombudsman by emailing or visit its website at The Banking Ombudsman is independent and can provide free advice around banking complaints.

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