1 Aug 2012

Australian banks likely to continue NZ focus

7:01 am on 1 August 2012

A new report by Standard & Poor's ratings agency says Australian banks will keep their focus on New Zealand as their key offshore investment for the next several years.

The report says the domestic operations of the four major Australian banks account for 60% of their total exposures.

The New Zealand subsidiaries of the four - ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac - account for about 15% of the banks' exposures.

Standard & Poor's director Sharad Jain says their presence here won't be changing soon.

He says there are several reasons for Australia's major banks presence in New Zealand including geographic proximity, the close economic ties between the two countries which is reflected in a high level of trade and the shared Commonwealth heritage that partly drives the similarity in institutions and a social bond.

Mr Jain says in the longer term the Australian banks may put a great focus on Asia.