New Zealand's five major banks have shown strong profit growth despite a forecast economic downturn.
Figures from PwC show lending is on the rise, with the corporate sector at its highest point since the late 2000s. Between them, the big five – Westpac, ASB, ANZ, Kiwibank and BNZ – have loaned more than $320 billion so far this year.
PwC partner Sam Shuttleworth says things are looking good for the banking industry.
"The major banks in New Zealand have reported a profit before tax of $3.5 billion, up about 5 percent from six months earlier," he told RadioLIVE.
But he expects growth will slow later this year.
"Economic forecasts are showing this is going to slow down, but it's still going to be positive on a global scale."
The latest quarterly forecast from ASB suggests New Zealand's so-called 'rock star economy' may now be faltering.
"The expectation is that the growth we have experienced over the past six months will probably abate," says Mr Shuttleworth.
PwC also predicts another major international bank may try to get a foothold in the New Zealand market in light of the big profits, and it might not need any branches to succeed.
"The advent and the enhancement in technology… makes it even more accessible for, say, a global bank to come to New Zealand, set up shop, but do it through a digital channel, do it through a virtual branch," he told Radio New Zealand.