15 Nov 2012

Banks helped by relative calm on markets

7:33 am on 15 November 2012

A credit ratings agency says relative calm on financial markets so far this year has helped shore up domestic banks.

Standard & Poors says the banks have been able to build deposits and long term funding above Reserve Bank requirements.

From the start of next year, the Reserve Bank will require banks to obtain 75% of their funding from domestic deposits and long term loans.

Standard & Poors says the banks are above that now because calm on financial markets in 2012 made it easier to get that funding.

The agency says the outlook for New Zealand's banks is stable for now.

It says they have benefited from borrowers switching from fixed to variable rates, which are more profitable.

But a period of lower profits is around the corner as lending growth remains weak.

Standard & Poors says households remain highly indebted and this remains a risk to domestic banks should house prices fall sharply.