BNZ wins Innovation award

Media release
15 May 2015

BNZ won the Institutional Banking Innovation award for its Community Finance initiative at last night’s Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand (INFINZ) Awards.

The Innovation Award recognises the creation of a better or more effective product, process, service, technology or idea that is readily available to markets, governments and society.

The Community Finance initiative was launched in August 2014, and aims to help people that banks don’t normally lend to, and who are often forced to borrow at high-interest rates from loan sharks and pay-day lenders.

BNZ’s Head of Institutional Banking, Paul Blair says that the win is great for the bank and the initiative.

“We are thrilled to be recognised by INFINZ for the work BNZ is doing with our partners to develop a community finance capability in New Zealand.”

“This is our response to support the government’s ambition to finding alternative financing options for people on low incomes to prevent unsustainable debt and alleviate its impact,” he says.

BNZ’s Head of Community Finance, Frances Ronowicz is also pleased that Community Finance has been acknowledged by the industry.

“It’s been fantastic to have our work celebrated by our peers, especially as the initiative is still in its pilot stage.

“We don’t just want to lend, we want to educate New Zealanders about how to pay back what they owe, be good with money, and of the long-term effects of high interest loans.

“We know that Community Finance has huge potential to make a significant difference to more of the people who need it most,” she says.

The judges were impressed with the strength of the entries, and INFINZ executive director Jim McElwain said, “By highlighting the outstanding participants in our industry, we hope to raise standards across the entire marketplace.”