New Zealand's banking regulators say they are closely watching the grilling of Australia's major banks but won't make any decisions on the findings until the final report is out.

Two weeks of public hearings have been heard on the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry with banks forced to air their dirty laundry on everything from mortgages to overdrafts and insurances.

Justice Keith Hayne is in charge of the royal commission which is due to produce an interim report by September 30 and a full report by February 1 next year.

But the findings could have implications in New Zealand where the four major banks are all Australian owned.


David Tripe, a banking expert at Massey University, said there had been some interesting cases raised in Australia.

"It certainly raises questions as to whether the same sorts of things could be happening here – and if not, why not?"

Tripe said while he could not be 100 per cent certain that the same issues were not occurring here there did not appear to be a lot of signs that they were.

"I don't think that the problems are anything like as prevalent in New Zealand as they are in Australia, which I think reflects cultural differences between the two countries."

A spokesman for the Commerce Commission said at this stage it was premature to speculate on whether there was conduct in Australia that should cause it to be concerned in New Zealand.

"Responsible lending is a priority for the commission and we have a number of investigations underway. We will study with interest the Australian inquiry report, when it is issued."

A spokesman for the Reserve Bank said it too was watching the inquiry with interest.

"When completed and where relevant to New Zealand's prudential supervisory regime, the findings of the Royal Commission will be considered carefully by the Reserve Bank."


But the New Zealand banking industry body has been quick to defend the local market.

New Zealand Bankers' Association chief executive Karen Scott-Howman said: "New Zealand's regulatory environment is very different from that in Australia, and the Australian-owned banks operating in New Zealand are separately governed and regulated under New Zealand law.

"The New Zealand financial services sector — banking, wealth management, superannuation, KiwiSaver and insurance — is well managed, well regulated and has high levels of customer trust and confidence.

"New Zealand banks are committed to being responsible lenders and trusted financial advisers, and to fulfilling their responsibilities under the Responsible Lending Code. Those commitments are supported by prudent lending standards and processes, which ensure both the customer and the bank make good decisions."