Sunday, August 1, 2010

Richard Branson takes on the Australian banks

British tycoon Richard Branson announced this past week that his Virgin group is setting up Virgin Money in Australia to offer cheaper banking services than the present quadropoly there. ANZ and Westpac operate in NZ under their own names, while nab (an appropriate name!) operates in NZ under its bnz subsidiary and The Commonwealth Bank with its ASB subsidiary.

There is certainly plenty of scope for lower bank fees, not only in Australia but also in NZ. While depositors with the Australian-owned banks may feel secure knowing that their bank is one of the world's most profitable and thus safest, people don't like feeling fleeced with excessive bank charges either, and that is certainly the case now.

It was not clear from the announcement if Virgin Money will be set up in NZ but that is probable, so good news for consumers.

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