New Zealand banks face off against disruption


The latest RBNZ whitepaper shows how new technologies are disrupting the traditional methods New Zealanders are culturally accustomed to.

In ‘Digital or Distraction? How Digitisation is changing New Zealand banks and core banking systems’, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) discusses how banks are responding to the challenges of digital disruption with in-house innovation and the launch of digital products.

According to the paper, banks in New Zealand are challenging alternative finance in four very specific ways. Banks across the country are pursuing a range of strategies to counter the areas in which non-traditional finance start-ups have begun to dominate:



Banks are increasingly looking to partner with third party providers to allow or increase the retention of customer data through forms of blockchain technology that is in house, as well as searching for collaborators to aid in the introduction of new technologies.


Branches and help centres

Remodelling of physical branches to change the traditional branch notion to more user friendly, customer focused areas that successfully provider virtual services and activities underpinned by strong social media interaction.



Almost all banks have embraced the concept of online banking, with NZ banks now looking to take things a step further by increasing mobile banking capabilities to create banking apps which provide simpler and more efficient access to online services.


System upgrades

Development of customer interfaces which allow for seamless digital banking so that banks can be seen to be actively responding to and challenging digital disruptors.


While the RBNZ has stated that these developments may pose operational risks for the payments system, it is acknowledged that they also have the potential to improve the overall efficiency within the New Zealand financial system.

New Zealand’s biggest banks; ANZ, ASB, Bank of New Zealand, Kiwibank and Westpac will all work towards innovation plans to continue the traditional finance battle to remain if not ahead, at least on par with disrupters.


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