China Construction Bank New Zealand has received a $140 million capital injection from its Beijing-based parent in a move its boss has described as a "vote of confidence" in the Chinese lender's local unit.
Deputy chief executive Lloyd Cartwright said he hoped the cash infusion would allow the bank - which only received a licence to operate in this country in 2014 and was set up with an initial injection of $59 million - to operate a "sustainable banking platform" that could generate its "own revenue and capital over time".
"This is significant enough to get the bank to a profitable standpoint and grow a meaningful business in New Zealand," Cartwright said.
CCB New Zealand's loan book had grown to more than $378 million as of March 31, including $274 million in commercial lending and $105 million in home loans.
The cash injection follows a similar play by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which pumped US$60 million into its New Zealand subsidiary this month.
CCB New Zealand is continuing to provide mortgages to overseas borrowers despite the big four Australian-owned banks - ANZ, Westpac, ASB and BNZ - announcing an end to such lending last month, largely due to the risks involved.
Cartwright said the bank had a "high net worth" mortgage book largely made up of Chinese borrowers either resident in New Zealand or looking to move here.
The big four's restrictions on lending to non-resident borrowers was a "potential opportunity" for CCB New Zealand.
"But we'd only do it in the context of very tight lending standards," Cartwright said.
He said he didn't want to enter the debate around the potential impact of Chinese money on New Zealand's heated property market.
"I think there's a lack of evidence to support either argument," Cartwright said.
He said the bank had already adopted impending restrictions from the Reserve Bank, announced last week, requiring residential property investors to have a minimum 40 per cent deposit and owner occupiers across New Zealand to have a minimum deposit of 20 per cent.
After the capital injection, Cartwright said the bank was focusing on following trade and capital flows in and out of this country.
"We've been supporting agri businesses, we've been involved in the energy, tourism and forestry sectors and infrastructure," he said. "We see a very bright future for CCB in New Zealand."
CCB at a glance
• World's second biggest bank by market capitalisation.
• 15,000 branches in China.
• Received a licence to operate in NZ in 2014.