7 Dec 2010

ANZ looking to small, medium firms to drive recovery

11:15 pm on 7 December 2010

The ANZ Bank is betting small and medium-sized firms will drive earnings next year, bolstered by the Rugby World Cup and rebuilding of the earthquake-hit Canterbury region.

The country's biggest bank will commit an extra $3 billion for these firms next year, on top of the $3.5 billion it expects to lend to refinance existing customer facilities.

Companies have complained banks tightened lending rules during the recession and global financial crisis, although the banks counter that firms have been reluctant to take on more debt.

ANZ New Zealand chief executive David Hisco says he's set up a small business unit to focus on a sector that should benefit first from an improving recovery.