24 Dec 2014

Business Briefs

2:00 pm on 24 December 2014

Banks increasing lending amounts

Reserve Bank figures show banks are slowly increasing the amount they lend in mortgages to those with less than a 20 percent deposit.

The central bank says 7.2 percent of banks' total mortgage lending in November, after exemptions such as for construction loans, was to people with small deposits.

From October last year, the Reserve Bank has made it a condition of banking licences that banks lend no more than 10 percent of net new mortgage lending to those with small deposits.

Because their banking licences were at stake, to begin with, banks were very cautious with just 3.6 percent of mortgage lending in January going to those with small deposits.

Sealegs censured

The Markets Disciplinary Tribunal has censured Sealegs for failing to have at least two independent directors the board, and failing to have at least three members on its audit committee.

The tribunal considers breaches of governance rules to be serious and fined Sealegs $8000 plus costs, even though it found the issue has been rectified and there's no evidence that investors were adversely affected.

Commerce Commission settles with ASB

The corporate regulator has reached a $3.2 million settlement with ASB Bank over an interest rate swaps product that is alleged to have disadvantaged its farming customers.

Earlier this month, the Commerce Commission reached a similar $19 million settlement with ANZ Bank.

ASB will pay $2.7 million to compensate its 40 eligible customers who registered their complaints with the commission, $250,000 will go to the Dairy Women's Network and the remaining $250,000 will go to cover the commission's costs.

The commission says the ASB settlement is smaller than ANZ's because it chose not to increase farmers' loan margins and because there were fewer complaints about ASB.