ASB blames new law for turning away loan applications

ASB blames new law for turning away loan applications
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The country's second biggest bank has been forced to turn away good potential borrowers because of tough new rules in the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act, but is hoping for quick changes.

ASB Bank said it could have loaned more money to more people but for the "prescriptive" new rules.

ASB chief executive Vittoria Shortt said the bank's hands had been tied.

"There's around 7 percent of customers that previously we would have been able to help, that we haven't been able to under the new legislation."

The Act, which came into operation in December, has been severely criticised for causing people with previously good credit records, to be refused finance.

Shortt hoped the review of the rules just announced by the government would result in changes.

"I have confidence that this review which has been stood up very quickly and the review scope is very broad, and I think we're going to see some changes happen quickly, which would be great."

Meanwhile, Shortt said she expected demand for housing credit would slow this year in line with a broader slowing of the property sector.

She said loan growth last year had been 12 percent, but ASB was now expecting that to fall to 6-8 percent growth this year.

ASB reported a net profit of $762 million for the six months ended December, compared with $619m the year before.

Property lending accounted for more than two-thirds of its $102 billion lending for the period.