ANZ to remove 'stressful' sales targets for frontline staff

ANZ has announced it's removing sales targets for front-line staff, and the country's other major banks look set to follow suit.

One ANZ employee, who asked not to be identified, said there was a palpable sense of relief in his office when it was announced they no longer had to meet strict sales quotas.

"There's quite a relaxed feeling from staff; 'Oh my gosh, these pressures are going to be removed'," he said.

"It will be a much less stressful place to work without those continuing product sales pressures."

In the past, any ANZ staff bonuses were entirely based on meeting sales targets, but over the years this was reduced to 25 percent.

The employee said staff felt pressure to meet targets, which could conflict with customers' best interests.

"Some of my colleagues did feel the pressure of having to meet those required sales targets and as such did feel a lot of stress."

The financial services industry has come under fire recently, with some workers saying they feel pressured to sell customers services they don't need.

First Union, which represents the majority of the sector's members, believes ANZ's decision could create a cultural shift in banking.

The union's finance sector organiser, Stephen Parry, said sales targets had been the most consistently raised and deeply felt concern for union members.

"They've committed to moving away from a sales-based culture towards a culture which is service-oriented," he said.

"So what we're seeing is I think the beginning of the end for sales culture in the New Zealand banking sector and that's a really promising thing."

Given the negative attention the sales tactics have received lately, Mr Parry believes other banks have taken careful note of ANZ's move.

"They'd do well to follow ANZ's lead on this," he said.

Kiwibank's people group manager Danielle George said it wants to go even further than ANZ.

"What we're looking at at Kiwibank is how do we incentivise and recognise not just the front-line - so not just the sales piece - but the entire organisation from front to back.

Westpac said in a statement it had already made changes to the way front-line staff are incentivised and further changes were planned.

BNZ said it was also conducting a review.

ASB said it has made changes to what it calls its performance management framework over the past year, including removing individual sales targets for branch staff. It said more changes are in train.

Financial Markets Authority head of regulation Liam Mason said ANZ's move was positive, but the regulator wanted banks to remove sales targets for external advisers too.

"We've been asking financial firms to act to improve customer outcomes for some time. Removing incentives that can conflict with that can only help this, it's a good step from them."

The FMA has been reviewing banking practices in light of seamy practices and customer exploitation in the Australian banking sector, which is the subject of a royal commission of inquiry.

Source: 1 NEWS



Official Cash Rate remains the same at 1.75 per cent as NZ economic growth 'has moderated' - Reserve Bank

The Reserve Bank has this morning announced it is keeping the official cash rate (ORC) as it was at 1.75 per cent, stating "recent economic growth has moderated". 

Kiwi economists had widely predicted the rate would not change.

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr said robust global growth and a lower New Zealand dollar exchange had dictated the decision. 

"We expect to keep the OCR at this level through 2019 and into 2020, longer than we projected in our May Statement. The direction of our next OCR move could be up or down," Mr Orr said in a statement. 

"While recent economic growth has moderated, we expect it to pick up pace over the rest of this year and be maintained through 2019."

In May this year, Mr Orr also decided to keep the official cash rate at 1.75 per cent amid "unprecedented" employment growth.

The official cash rate (OCR) is the term for the bank rate in New Zealand and is the rate of interest which the central bank charges on overnight loans to commercial banks.

This cash rate then allows the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to adjust the interest rates accordingly.

A mixture of New Zealand Bank notes and coins.
New Zealand currency (file picture). Source: istock.com

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Group of teenagers involved in shooting of Northland seal

Four teenagers were involved in the shooting of a protected leopard seal in Northland, Dargaville police say.

The seal was shot in the face near Glinks Gully Beach just outside Dargaville two weeks ago. A member of the public, who spotted the seal basking, found it dead when he returned the next day to check on it.

A Department of Conservation marine biologist determined the seal was shot with a shotgun.

Police identified four teenage boys, two aged 16 and two aged 15, who will all be referred to Youth Aid, said Acting Sergeant Willie Paniora.

He said the situation was upsetting and hoped the new information gave the public some degree of reassurance.

"Police carried out significant enquiries in relation to this matter...We hope this serves as a notice that we will not tolerate this type of cruel and reckless behaviour."

Environment group Sea Shepherd was offering $5000 for information leading to the prosecution of the killer or killers.

Seals are protected under the Wildlife Act and causing them harm can result in two years in prison or a fine up to $250,000.

File photo of a leopard seal.
File photo of a leopard seal. Source: Brent Tandy / Department of Conservation