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Rabobank aims to shake market

Rabobank is determined to shake up the savings and investment market with the launch of a new product offering sharp rates, no fees, and flat interest rate structures.

Tuesday, February 14th 2006, 5:45AM

by Philip Macalister

Its new offer, RaboPlus, is being launched today offering an online call account with a market topping 7.35% rate, and competitive term investment rates. Also it is offering managed funds to clients.

Rabobank general manager Mike Heath expects other banks will respond to the launch.

“Sure there will be a response,” he says.

Rabobank says the money raised through its investment offerings will be used to fund its lending in the rural sector in New Zealand. Heath says this has previously been funded by higher cost wholesale money.

The most similar competitor to RaboPlus is arguably Superbank which is struggling to make a profit at the moment and is under review by its parent St Georges Bank in Australia.

Heath says Rabobank is different as it has “a very select range of products” and it has picked up a lot of experience from similar operations in Ireland and Belgium.

However, Superbank, probably has a smaller product offering with its online call account, SuperSaver, and residential home loans.

Heath says Rabobank’s call and term deposit proposition is around offering good rates, no fees and convenience. Also it has a flat rate structure for its term deposits, as opposed to the tiered format banks use.

Other big features the bank is pushing are its AAA Standard and Poor’s credit rating and the security features tied in to its online call account operation.

“Security is a strong feature of the new service.”

RaboPlus customers will be issued with an internet security token which must be used in conjunction with a personal identification number to access their account. The token generates a new one-time passcode every 36 seconds and, when combined with the user’s PIN, creates a log-in combination that is valid only for that particular user at that moment in time.

“RaboPlus will effectively be the bank you have on the side. It won’t replace your primary bank, but will offer savings products with a competitive and attractive rate for serious savers and the financially savvy. The online structure means we can keep running costs low and interest rates high,” Heath says.

Comparing Online call accounts

Rabobank

7.35

Min balance nil

Kiwibank

7.20

Min $2,000, includes bonus 0.45% for no withdrawals in calendar month.

Superbank

7.15

Min balance nil

Bank Direct

7.00

Min balance $1

HSBC

7.00

Min balance $3,000

ASB

7.00

Min balance nil

ANZ

7.00

Min balance $2,000

Westpac

6.80

$10,000 to $49,999. $50K plus 7%.

Source: www.depositrates.co.nz
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