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RBNZ to consider reinstating LVRs from March 2021

Nov 11, 2020

The central bank has confirmed it will look at reinstating loan-to-value ratio restrictions on high-risk lending from March next year.

The restrictions were removed in May to encourage home-buyers and lending.

Reserve Bank (RBNZ) deputy governor Geoff Bascand said the lending market had since improved.

"And we are now observing rapid growth in higher-risk investor lending. We will consult about re-instating the restrictions we had in place pre-Covid, which limited the amount of high-risk lending that banks could make."

It would consult on the changes next month.

Meanwhile, RBNZ also confirmed a further delay of the requirement for retail banks to hold increased capital.

Bascand said this was to allow banks continued headroom to respond to the effects of the pandemic and support economic recovery.

"Delaying the implementation of parts of the Capital Review decisions by a further 12 months strikes the right balance between providing more headroom for banks to support lending now by drawing on their capital buffers, while also ensuring that capital levels lift in the longer term to support financial stability."

He said RBNZ remained committed to the requirements.

"The changes mean the increase in the Prudential Capital Buffer will not begin until July 2022. The Reserve Bank will reconfirm this timing near the end of 2021, and will consider making further amendments to the timing if the conditions warrant it.

"Other aspects of the capital reforms will proceed from 1 July 2021, including the new rules around capital instruments. More detail on this will be released on November 17."

The bank confirmed restrictions on retail banks paying dividends would also continue until at least the end of March.

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