Alex Sims, an associate professor in Auckland University's commercial law department, says the banks are in a technology arms race with newer players.

"In the past people had a strong relationship with their bank - that has broken down.
It is easy to get a loan."

Sims points to the rise of peer to peer lenders who can approve loans quickly online without ever having to see a person in the flesh.

"The new players are far quicker at processing loans. Banks are really having to scramble. It's a technology arms race"


Sims says the banks are conscious of it but they are really struggling.

"They have still got a dominant position when it comes to mortgages. It is coming to terms with the technology."

She says the banks have worked out they have got to change their business models with digital currencies emerging.

"They are working on their own systems using block chain."

Last year a number of the banks launched mobile wallet technology with ANZ going with Apple Pay and BNZ doing Android pay.

The technology means people can wave their phone or Apple watch over a paywave terminal to pay.

But the number of people using paywave in New Zealand is still small and some retailers won't let people use it because it costs them versus eftpos which is free.

She says that is one of the risks of going with new technology.


"Yes you can have very good technology but it may not be picked up."

She says banks may need to looking at launching their own fin-tech start-ups in the future or have a small division able to do that.

"They will have to evolve."

She says it may also mean banks end up buying out fin-tech businesses to keep up.

She also believes it is also unwise for the banks to be cutting branches because that is one of the advantages they do have over other fin-techs.

"There is still a big co-hort of the population that want that face to face communication."