Sunday, February 05, 2006

A WUNCH OF BANKERS
Friday was interesting. For me anyhow. I've just established a charitable trust with two friends, and under the trust we're running ShoppingFix - a sustainable shopping rewards program. Because we know that its such a constructive idea, we know that funders will be throwing dosh at us left right and centre. So I went visiting banks to see who wanted to help us manage the riches.

"We dont look after social clubs." "We dont have the cash handling facilities." "We dont..." You get the picture. On Friday I was only interested in considering "local" financial institutions so that when our dosh is not being used by us, it is at least providing some local benefit. But it appears that "local" means personal banking.

I was faced with the choice of going to a "business banker" or installing a security system under my matress (in times past there has been evidence suggesting some kind of force field around my matress - but thats another story...).

So lets name some names. ASB. 100% owned by Commonwealth Bank of Oz. Totally un-kiwi, and a little blurb on their website about "commitment to the community" countered by a little blurb about being "bigger and better". But I'm not sure that big is better. I'll reserve judgement on ASB, but for the meantime I feel more comfortable referring to it as "Big'ol'Oz'Savings Bank".

BNZ. Bank of where? Oh, Nu Zulund. BNZ: 100% owned by National Oz Bank Group. But these guys are active in our communtiy. Been to Downstage Theatre lately? Well BNZ flick them some dosh every now and then. Which is a good thing - as is Downstage. Oh, and the Kiwi Recovery program, another good thing. I'm feeling a little better about BNZ, but I'll again reserve judgement and to be smart refer to them as "Bank of Satellite OZ".

Westpac. 100% owned by Westpac Banking Corporation - registered in Oz. It seems that big brother is OWNING us. Much like when you were 12 and you got your 9 year old sibling to practice their tackling on you (or vica versa). But these guys do have a zero waste policy. We're getting warm! You'll also see at the top of the following list (http://www.global100.org/2006/by_country.asp) that they are in a global (read "very very big") sense quite good in corporate social responsibility terms. They also keep the odd important chopper in the air and are bankers to us as taxpayers (ie. the Govt.) which, for the moment, I'll take as a good thing. Again judgement reserved for who I'll refer to as "WestOz".

Another biggie is National Bank - as is ANZ. They are one in the same thing. Both 100% owned by ANZ Banking Group Ltd (of Oz). I like cricket and National Bank is cricket (currently). Also, they are a part of Daffodil Day (Cancer Society) which is another very noble cause. ANZ staff do some community work and seem to be nice folk (on their ads at least, and we all believe ads dont we?). So this lot seem OK. Maybe no less OK than those above, but probably no more. Lets call these guys "NZ is superfluous Banking Group".

That leaves us big Jims Kiwi Bank. 100% Kiwi. But I dont like Jim (again, thats another story) allthough its been some time since the birth of Kiwi Bank, so maybe I can forget Jim. Kiwi Bank state "no transaction fees" if you're a non-profit body. Hey! Thats us! But what do we get? Does no fees mean no frills or service? As Kiwi Bank is part of NZ Post (legally and physically) I'm inclined to believe that their environmental (and social) footprint is a little softer than the Oz banks. Another good thing. But Kiwi Bank does seem rather work-in-progress-ish.

For the record Superbank have a strong Oz component and are for personal banking only. For TSB (here in Wellington at least) and PSIS you're either a personal banker or your treated (sympathetically) as an Australian.

So we've got a choice of "Big'ol'Oz'Savings Bank", "Bank of Satellite OZ", "WestOz", "NZ is superfluous Banking Group", and the "look what I'm doing in the back shed" Kiwi Bank.

I'm inclined towards Kiwi Bank but could be swayed by "WestOz" as the lesser of a bunch of evils. Please, somebody, abuse me for talking about w/banking for so long, and while you're at it suggest a solution. We need someone to handle our cash, and we'd prefer the benefits of its use to stay in NZ.

I'm really bored now. Anyone for naked twister...?

1 comment:

Guv said...

...we ended up going with KiwiBank. And I've only good things to say about them!