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New Governance Structure for bank payments system

15 December 2010

Media Release 15 December 2010

The governance of New Zealand’s bank to bank payment clearing and settlement system, which handles New Zealand’s more than six million daily payments, has been transferred to a new company called Payments NZ Limited (PNZ).

PNZ represents a new model for the governance of the New Zealand payments system. The change comes after many years of discussion between bank participants and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

PNZ will be responsible for setting and overseeing the rules and standards governing the way payment instructions are exchanged and settled and reviewing payments system policies and procedures.

A key goal for the PNZ operating model, and one of the principal reasons for the governance change, is to permit non-bank institutions to participate in the payments system. This was not possible under the previous operating model, meaning that non-bank institutions (eg building societies) could only access the payments system by going through a third party bank.

This will mean that in the future a wider group of financial institutions will be able to offer their customers the ability to transfer or receive payments.

PNZ Chief Executive, Steve Nichols, said the new system would ensure continued integrity, confidence and stability of the rules and standards for interchanging and settling payments while introducing more open access to the payments system over time.

“New Zealand has a very effective and efficient payments system, but internationally there is a move toward opening access up to a broader range of participants, to offer more choice to consumers, comply with regulators and encourage more innovation.

“PNZ’s role will be to encourage a more open, innovative system, while protecting the integrity of the system’s governance,” Mr Nichols said.

PNZ is owned by the eight banks that were members of the NZBA and who currently participate in the payments system directly. The company will have eleven directors – eight shareholder representatives and three independent directors, one of whom will act as an independent chair.

The independent directors are Tony McNeil (Chair), Patsy Reddy and David Russell (biographies attached).

Ends

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