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Restrictions on use of the word 'bank'

There are restrictions on the use of the words 'bank', 'banker' and 'banking' to help the public identify who is a registered bank. This page provides information on these restrictions, including who may use these words in their name, how to seek authorisation to use these words and using these words in advertising.

What the 'restricted words' are

The ‘restricted words’ under Part 4 of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989 are 'bank', 'banker' and 'banking’, as well as use of these words as part of any other word, and translations into another language.

These words may not be used in a name or title, and care must be taken when using them in advertising.

Using restricted words in names or titles

In general, restricted words can only be used in the name or title of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and registered banks.

However, this restriction does not apply if the name or title:

  • is not used in respect of a financial institution; and
  • the restricted word signifies a geographic place name or the name of a natural person.

Where the restriction applies, we may authorise the use of restricted words in a name or title in the following situations.

1. Banks licensed or registered overseas

We can authorise the use of restricted words by banks that are licensed or registered overseas, but not registered in New Zealand (‘overseas banks’). The authorisation will only be in relation to carrying on specific activities that are not the borrowing and lending of money or the provision of other financial services in New Zealand.

Guidance

We have issued the following guidance for overseas banks:

  • How we will assess whether an overseas bank is carrying on an activity in New Zealand and therefore is covered by the restrictions on the use of restricted words.
  • How we will assess when to authorise an overseas bank, or class of overseas banks, to use restricted words while carrying on an activity in New Zealand.

Register of overseas banks with individual authorisations under section 65(1)(a)

Name of overseas bank Date of individual authorisation Main activities permitted
The Bank of New York Mellon 19 November 2020 Asset servicing, collateral management and segregation, liquidity services, markets-clearance, and markets-FX activities
State Bank of India   13 April 2022 Remittance services relating to select currencies, namely NZD to INR, NZD to AUD, and NZD to USD
The Toronto Dominion Bank 23 December 2020 Investing or trading with New Zealand clients in non-New Zealand financial products: entering into repos, securities lending transactions and buy/sell back transactions with New Zealand clients

Class authorisation for overseas banks

From 2019, a class authorisation applies to overseas banks when carrying on certain prescribed forms of wholesale business in New Zealand. See these gazette notices:

This class authorisation is in place until 22 September 2024.

Register of overseas banks relying on the Class Authorisation Notice 2019

Name of overseas bank Date of letter of notification of reliance Main activities permitted
Bank of America N.A. 22 March 2021 Wholesale banking activities (cl 5); wholesale lending activities (cl 6); financial advisory services (cl 7); involvement in capital market issuances (cl 8); own capital market investment activities (cl 10); acting in wholesale foreign exchange and derivatives markets (cl 11)
The Bank of New York Mellon 28 February 2020 Wholesale banking activities (cl 5); wholesale lending activities (cl 6); acting in wholesale foreign exchange and derivatives markets (cl 11)
The Bank of New York Mellon SA/NV 28 February 2020 Involvement in capital market issuances (cl 8)
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce 5 July 2021 Wholesale lending activities (cl 6), acting in wholesale foreign exchange and derivatives markets (cl 11)
China Development Bank 19 December 2019 Wholesale lending activities (cl 5)
Citibank Europe Plc 4 December 2019 Wholesale lending activities (cl 6)
Commerzbank AG 16 January 2020 Wholesale banking activities (cl 5); wholesale lending activities (cl 6); financial advisory services (cl 7); involvement in capital market issuances (cl 8); acting in roles supporting capital market issuances (cl 9)
DZ Bank AG Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank 24 September 2019 Wholesale lending activities (cl 6); involvement in capital market issuances (cl 8)
Goldman Sachs International Bank 9 June 2021 Wholesale lending activities (cl 6); involvement in capital market issuances (cl 8); acting in roles supporting capital market issuances (cl 9); own capital market investment activities (cl 10)
HSBC Bank Australia Limited 6 November 2019 Wholesale lending activities (cl 6); involvement in capital market issuances (cl 8); acting in roles supporting capital market issuances (cl 9); own capital market investment activities (cl 10)
Inter-American Development Bank 24 June 2020 Involvement in capital market issuances (cl 8)
Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc 5 June 2020 Wholesale banking activities (cl 5); wholesale lending activities (cl 6); involvement in capital market issuances (cl 8); acting in wholesale foreign exchange and derivatives markets (cl 11)
Macquarie Bank Limited 19 December 2019 Wholesale banking activities (cl 5); wholesale lending activities (cl 6); financial advisory services (cl 7); own capital market investment activities (cl 10); acting in wholesale foreign exchange and derivatives markets (cl 11); acting in roles supporting the derivatives markets (cl 12)
Royal Bank of Canada 1 October 2019 Wholesale banking activities (cl 5); wholesale lending activities (cl 6); financial advisory services (cl 7); involvement in capital market issuances (cl 8); acting in roles supporting capital market issuances (cl 9); own capital market investment activities (cl 10); acting in wholesale foreign exchange and derivatives markets (cl 11); acting in roles supporting the derivatives markets (cl 12)
State Street Bank and Trust Company 24 January 2020 Wholesale lending activities (cl 6); financial advisory services (cl 7); own capital market investment activities (cl 10); acting in wholesale foreign exchange and derivatives markets (cl 11)
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation 10 November 2021 Wholesale banking activities (cl 5); wholesale lending activities (cl 6); financial advisory services (cl 7); own capital market investment activities (cl 10); acting in wholesale foreign exchange and derivatives markets (cl 11); acting in roles supporting the derivatives markets (cl 12)
The Toronto-Dominion Bank 17 January 2020 Wholesale banking activities (cl 5); wholesale lending activities (cl 6); financial advisory services (cl 7); involvement in capital market issuances (cl 8); own capital market investment activities (cl 10); acting in wholesale foreign exchange and derivatives markets (cl 11)

Before this class authorisation, we issued letters of non-objection to individual overseas banks seeking to use restricted words while carrying on activity in New Zealand. We are no longer issuing these non-objection letters to overseas banks, but letters issued before this policy change will remain in force, as recorded in the following register:

Register of overseas banks relying on existing non-objection letters

Name of overseas bank Date of letter of non-objection Main activities permitted
Asian Development Bank March 2008 Ongoing provision of securities, and use of securities to provide liquidity in the market.
Bank of America December 2014 Ongoing provision of wholesale banking services (banknote distribution, participation in the foreign exchange market, occasional lending).
Bank Morgan Stanley AG January 2013 Ongoing provision of wholesale banking services (including loans, bank accounts, and investment products) and securities execution and settlement services.
Barclays Bank plc February 2017 Ongoing provision of a wide range of wholesale banking services.
CLS Bank International May 2004 Ongoing provision of foreign exchange settlement and other risk mitigation services to wholesale customers.
Deutsche Bank AG July 2016 Ongoing provision of wholesale banking services (foreign exchange spot and forwards, interest rate swaps, debt capital markets, bond trading etc).
HSBC Bank plc, HSBC Bank Australia Limited and HSBC Bank USA, N.A.  November 2014 Ongoing operation of foreign currency accounts for New Zealand retail customers by the global bank.
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development July 2007 Ongoing provision of securities, and use of securities to provide liquidity in the market.
Lloyds Banking Group November 2014 Ongoing provision of wholesale banking services (foreign exchange, securities origination and trading, trade finance, transaction accounts, miscellaneous services) and limited retail banking.
Mizuho Bank December 2014 Ongoing provision of wholesale banking services to large NZ corporates (corporate, project, trade and acquisition finance, derivatives, debt capital markets, transaction accounts).
Morgan Stanley Bank International Limited and Morgan Stanley Bank, N.A. August 2015 Ongoing provision of wholesale banking services (loans, letters of credit, margin lending, derivatives).
Royal Bank of Scotland July 2013 Ongoing provision of wholesale banking services to existing clients and their affiliates (including debt issuance, cash management, trade finance, derivatives and funding advice).
Standard Chartered Bank July 2013 Ongoing provision of wholesale banking and advisory services (including futures contracts, cash management accounts and trade finance).
Tonga Development Bank March 2016 Ongoing provision of retail remittance services.
WEX Bank December 2013 Ongoing provision of foreign exchange transfers for business.

2. Representative bodies

We can authorise use by persons formed or incorporated or registered to represent the interests of registered banks. Authorisation may be subject to conditions.

3. Associated person of a registered bank

We can authorise use by associated persons of registered banks. Authorisation may be subject to conditions.

4. Unit trusts associated with registered banks

We can authorise use by unit trusts of which a registered bank is a trustee or manager. Authorisation may be subject to conditions.

5. Non-financial institutions

We can authorise use of restricted words in the name or title of persons who are not financial institutions. However, we may require that the name or title clearly identifies that the purpose for which the authorised person operates is non-financial.

Authorisations will be conditional on the authorised person not being, and not becoming, a financial institution.

How to apply for authorisation

If the restriction applies to you, you may seek our authorisation to use the restricted words in your name or title.

Email [email protected] with the following information, and we will get in touch:

  • the (proposed) name of your business
  • your reasons for using a restricted word
  • the (proposed) activities your business will carry on in New Zealand
  • whether or not your business will provide financial services in New Zealand.

Using restricted words in advertisements

Financial institutions that are not registered banks need to be careful when using restricted words in their advertisements.

If a financial institution that is not a registered bank wishes to use a restricted word in an advertisement:

  • the advertisement must contain a statement that the financial institution is not a registered bank, and
  • that statement must be communicated in a way that ensures, as far as reasonably practicable, that it attracts the attention of those the advertisement is directed to.

For example, for a printed advertisement, it is more likely to comply if the disclaimer statement is:

  • placed in isolation from other text
  • placed in a prominent place in the advertisement
  • in a font size that is appropriate in relation to other font sizes used in the advertisement
  • in a colour that distinguishes the statement from other content.

An advertisement is defined broadly in the legislation to mean anything used to promote the interests of a specified person (for example, a financial institution that is not a registered bank) or the services or products of that person.  An advertisement includes a trade mark of a specified person.

The restriction applies to advertisements in any media type. This could include social media, websites, apps, television, radio, video, cinema, newspapers, magazines and brochures. Other things that could carry advertisements include signage, objects, promotional items, buildings or structures, or any material sponsoring an event or entity.

Please also refer to section 66B of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989.