Sir John Key has defended the $2 billion profit of ANZ bank, and also says creative alternatives are being considered to try to keep regional branches open.
On TVNZ1's Q+A, the ANZ chair was asked by host Corin Dann if the Australian banks "and ANZ, the bank that you chair, (are) fleecing New Zealand?"
"In a word, no," Sir John said. "We are a very, very large bank, we are a very large company, we have a financial relationship with one in two New Zealanders.
"We have $127 billion worth of loans to New Zealanders to fund a house, to start a business whatever it might be."
"Over the last eight or nine years we've deployed $6.7 billion of additional capital into the New Zealand market. We're taking a lot of risks."
He did not agree that New Zealand's ANZ profit was "so much higher" than Australia.
"We're in the most benign credit environment that you've ever seen. It's true, we made the better part of $2b, but on the other side of the coin we had the lowest loan write-offs that we've had in a very, very long time."
Dann asked about the closure of some regional branches, with Sir John saying it was a response to "what actually customers really want", in terms of a decrease in branch visits.
"We are looking for creative ways to try and make sure that we keep branches open. We're cognisant of the fact that for older New Zealanders we need to make sure there's still accessible services there."
"To be blunt, as a bank we spend hundreds of millions of dollars investing in that because that's what the customers of New Zealand want."