Competitive Advantages Analysis of Kiwibank

9 September 2016

This assignment will provide an overview of banking industry via two analyses, which are PESTEL Framework Analysis and Michael Porter Five Forces Analysis. In particular, the case of Kiwibank within the competition with other banks will be provided. Strategic capabilities and reacting strategies of Kiwibank are also identified, assessed through VRIN criteria, and discussed their feasibility. Finally, recommendations for Kiwibank sustainable development are also suggested in this assignment. ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS PESTEL Framework Analysis

PESTEL framework analysis provides an overview of the macroeconomics conditions that affecting the banking industry in New Zealand. Five main factors forming PESTEL diagram are Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, Technological, Environment and Legal ones. However, based on the provided information in the case study, just three of them will be clarified next. Political Since 1992, New Zealand government (National Party particularly) has followed a non-involvement strategy in banking. The advantage of this is that banks can be free from the interference of government in long-term plan or internal operation strategy.

Competitive Advantages Analysis of Kiwibank Essay Example

In some cases, there are no longer any nationalization activities from the government, both expropriation and confiscation. Nonetheless, the banking activities are not under control, being floated and small banks have no subsidies to recover their balance statement if there is a bad situation occurring. However, starting from early 2000s, government started to have some initial intervention towards the banking industry through state-owned enterprises (SOEs). A prominent example is subsidizing for NZ Post to run a new bank named Kiwibank in 2002.

This movement until now has no proofs whether it is positive or negative for the banking industry. However, it may become notable in future because it can be seen that there will be more intervention from government. Therefore, the face of banking industry can change rapidly. Economic It has been a long history of the dominance of foreign-owned banks in New Zealand. In fact, most of the major banks in New Zealand have the Australia-origin, or acquired fully or partly by their neighbor-country banks. ANZ, the biggest bank now in NZ, in term of total assets (Appendix in the case study), headquarters in Australia.

These major banks possess a huge source of capital, especially financial resources, which can help solve the problems of bad debts or doubtful debts, and help fluent the liquidation of monetary flow in NZ. They contribute to a developed and stable banking system here in NZ, setting the basis for other industries to grow. However, for small and New Zealand-based banks, competing with these dominants is such an impossible challenge because of lacking financial capital. Another point to note down is the acquisition trend happening from 1980s until now.

In particular, dominants as mentioned above tended to acquire regional bank. For example, 75% shares of Auckland Savings Bank (now ASB Bank) are sold to the Commonwealth Banks of Australia in 1989 and the remaining 25% to ASB Community Trust in 2000. This trend has both side effects on NZ banking industry. Positively, such acquisition helps concentrate the resources, in terms of financial and human, avoiding an intense competition in NZ; however, it can also become one of the fixative factors creating the oligopoly, preventing the fairness for competitors.

The last important economic feature is that a clear segmentation between banks reduces the competitiveness. While rich-capital and overseas banks operating in New Zealand mainly focus on commercial and international transactions and activity, the personal banking segment still opens for medium and small banks to generate profit. Technological The emergence of Internet has triggered a huge change in banking industry. To be innovative and catch up with the pioneer banks in applying Internet banking, most banks have to invest a large amount to develop an Internet banking system, regarding to a stable, effective and secure database.

In addition, the rapid growth of smartphone has created a new dimension of banking transaction methods, mobile banking. These two new ways, have partly replaced the traditional banking method – via tellers. They might become the main reasons for recent closure of some banks’ branches. It cannot be said whether it is good or bad for banking industry, because changing, innovating technology and information infrastructure is an inevitable trend of human civilization and development. By the way, this change will gradually renew the banking system; require a lot of capital from banks to invert into it.

Michael Porter 5 forces analysis Figure 1. Michael Porter’s 5 forces diagram As the diagram presented above, there are 5 main factors initiated by Michael Porter that decide the attractiveness, or the competitiveness of the industry for a specific business entity in that industry. They are the threat of entry, the threat of substitutes, the bargaining power of buyers, the bargaining power of suppliers and the extent of rivalry between competitors. Three of these 5 factors will be analyzed in case of banking industry with an example of Kiwibank.

Threat of new entrants There are some main variables that cause the level of threat of new entrants. In banking industry, it is obvious that the fixed costs and even exit costs is enormous. However, it is a different story with Kiwibank. With support from government (i. e. capital funding), which also means that there are no government restrictions to enter the industry, the financial issues seem not to matter. Moreover, the differentiation in target segment of Kiwibank also contributes to the low level of threat of new entrants. Threat of substitutes

The market segment that Kiwi targets to is personal banking market (as mentioned in the case study). In that market, main services being offered are home loans, mortgages, and personal savings. However, there are some other services that can offer users the same benefit, which are insurances, mutual funds and government bonds. Insurances can be considered as the same method with savings. Mutual funds1, despite their high level of risks of losing money, are still able to generate remarkable profits; while government bonds are one of the safe ways to save money.

However, the rising insurance rates (Krupp, 2013) and the high risks of mutual funds have not affected a lot on Kiwibank development. These types of substitutes combine and create low threat of substitution for Kiwibank. Rivalry between competitors Besides substitute offered services, there are just a few banks competing in the same segment with Kiwibank, such as Taranaki Savings Bank (TSB Bank) and Southland Building Society (SBS Bank now). Therefore, it can be said that the degree of rivalry for Kiwibank is low.

However, the existence of other banks with the same business model with Kiwibank might appear and boosting this level to be higher than present. With all of the analysis above, New Zealand banking industry can be classified as in the shakeout stage of the industry life cycle. Besides, banking industry in NZ is probably a perfect competitive industry, where the entry barriers are low, equal rivalries exists, but being still highly competitive. Figure 2. The industry life cycle In three forces that have been analyzed, rivalry between competitors should be the strongest factor that influence deeply on the operation of Kiwibank.

As the promising profits that Kiwibank has generated in recent years, the personal banking segment becomes attractive for small banks like Kiwibank to target to. In addition, the major banks can also go back to invest in this segment. This situation can trigger a high chance of hypercompetitive banking industry, where major banks with huge assets can easily beat such small banks like Kiwibank. Discussion further from the environmental analysis It is such a smart movement of Kiwibank to just focus only on personal banking segment, because major banks have abandoned it for a long time.

It can be called as niche-focused strategy, which seems to be rational for such small firm like Kiwibank to earn profit and avoid the competition from dominant banks with huge capital ability. Some economists argue that Kiwibank is a kind of political tool to control the banking industry of government after years not involving in, and its operation activities are intervened by government. In fact, Kiwibank are subsidized by government; however, Kiwibank operates as a separate subsidiary firm of NZ Post, with separate Board of Directors.

That independence strategy helps Kiwibank get the support from government and avoiding the deep interference from them simultaneously. As a subsidiary of NZ Post, with NZ Post funding and existing facilities of it (Kiwibank branches are associated with NZ Post outlets), the problem of lower capital (assets) than major banks is solved. Kiwibank does not have to invest a lot in physical infrastructure, which accounts for a huge amount of money when establishing banking branches. The remaining capital is utilized to operating activities of the bank.

Whether Kiwibank loses in banking competition or not, the exiting costs of it are low, which can be considered to be less risky. Moreover, with a newly adopted firm like Kiwibank, utilizing the reputation of NZ Post, which is widely trusted in the community, is a smart movement in the competitive banking industry. STRATEGIC CAPABILITIES ANALYSIS Strategic capabilities identification Capabilities of a business entity consist of resources that it possesses, and competencies that it can do well.

A combination of resources and competencies might be a success key for firms, from mature ones to the new ones like Kiwibank. Capabilities of a firm would be ranking as threshold capabilities or distinctive capabilities. While threshold capabilities are those vitally needed to compete with rivalries in the market, distinctive capabilities offer company competitive advantages to stand out and becoming a leader in a business competition. Kiwibank capabilities assessed in the case study will be identified and classified as whether it is threshold or distinctive in the table below. Resources | Reasons for Threshold (T) or Distinctive (D) classification| Competencies| Reasons for Threshold (T) or Distinctive (D) classification| Physical| Existing outlet network of NZ Post (D)| No competitor banks in NZ possesses the outlet network when they are first established like Kiwibank| Utilizing NZ Post outlet network and reputation to increase the coverage of brand name throughout country (an effective marketing method) (D) | Based from the resources that no rivalries has, Kiwibank has utilized them well to attract a lot of customers. Data in the case study)| | Reputation of NZ Post| As above, no banks in NZ has the original reputation before going to do business|

Offering customers easy accessibility (both in terms on location and longer opening hours, including Saturday and Sunday) (D)| No other banks except Kiwibank opens in Weekend, which has created the convenience for customers. Financial| Funding from government and NZ Post (T)| Compared with other banks with larger assets, having financial support is vital for Kiwibank survivor and development| Offering customer low interest and mortgage rate, providing free accounts (D)| Since its establishment, Kiwibank always offers the lower rate than the five major banks, attracting customers a huge amount of customers switching banks to Kiwibank. | | | Ability to make profit just two years after its establishment (D) (Data in Case study)| Rarely a bank which offers the lower rates for customers can gain positive turnover after two year like Kiwibank| Human| Its own Board of Director and CEO (Sam Knowles), financial supporters … (T)| To operate a business entity, having these human resources is vital to survive| CEO of Kiwibank has taken the advantage of Kiwi-can-do attitude of New Zealanders to attract customers (Kiwibank is a New Zealand-based bank) (T)| Other competitors who are NZ-based-firm can also take advantage of this attitude|

Figure 3. Kiwibank’s strategic capabilities As these strategic capabilities can vary over time, firms have to acquire sustainable competitive advantages that allow them to develop in long-term. Jay Barney has initiate a criteria called VRIN criteria (Value – Rarity – Inimitability – Non-substitutability) to help firms assess the capabilities they have and planning appropriate strategies. Here is a table assessing analyzed capabilities of Kiwibank using VRIN criteria Capabilities| V-Valuable? | Rare? | Imitable? | Non-substituted? Advantage| Existing outlet network of NZ Post| ? | ? | ? | ? | Sustained competitive advantage| Reputation of NZ Post| ? | ? | | | Temporary competitive advantage| Funding from government and NZ Post| ? | | | | Competitive parity| Human resources like CEO, managers …| | | | | Not an advantage| Ability to utilize the outlet network to expand the business scales| ? | ? | ? | ? | Sustained competitive advantage| Ability to offer customers easy accessibility| ? | ? | | | Temporary competitive advantage| Ability to offer low interest, mortgage rate, free accounts …| ? ? | | | Temporary advantage| Ability to make profits in short-term| ? | | | | Competitive parity| Ability to take advantage of Kiwi-can-do attitude to attract customers| ? | | | | Competitive advantage| Figure 4. VRIN criteria assessed to Kiwibank’s capabilities Discussion from the Strategic Capabilities Analysis Assessed from the table above, there are two competitive advantages that Kiwibank has approaching the sustainable growth and development, which are the NZ outlet network possession and ability to utilize this network.

In future, they can continue to be sustained competitive advantages of Kiwibank because no rivalries have these ones. However, it can be seen that the funding from government and NZ Post is not enough for Kiwibank to expand their business with the original operation criteria of low rates for customers if the customer number keeps rising with the same rate as recent years. In another word, modest capital resources can become a huge disadvantage for Kiwibank to continue growing, especially when Kiwibank enters the stage of developing and maturing in the company life cycle.

Recommendation for long-term development A suggestion for Kiwibank is that they should corporate with multinational financial firms or banks such as HSBC or Citigroup to seeking financial help from them. Such MNEs like that can fund Kiwibank, which helps them to keep following the rationale of lowing interest rates for customers while still having enough capital for liquidation and other financial transaction. Particularly, based on the agreement of Kiwibank with Citigroup, who provides international service for them, Kiwibank can accelerate a co-operation with them, in a seeking-capital-funding purpose.

Another method is that Kiwibank can take advantage of HSBC seeking potential market shares in banking industry in NZ, making a co-operation with them. One can penetrate NZ market, and one can have enough capital resources for sustainable development. Both ways with these two MNEs also offer Kiwibank a chance to go internationally. However, working with such MNEs containing extremely high-level risks of being acquire by them. Therefore, it is essential for Kiwibank to research and study well about these MNEs to have appropriate co-operating plan, avoiding acquisition risks. CONCLUSION

In summary, banking industry in New Zealand can be considered as a perfect competitive business environment for firms within it develop and earning profit; where a few foreign-owned banks dominated the industry. Kiwibank, a NZ-based bank, stood out with different business model, offering the lower interest rates for customers has initially gained profits, thanks to its strategic capabilities and long-term planned strategies. However, to gain a sustainable development, Kiwibank has to consider the alternatives to renew and maintain their capabilities to compete with other banks in future, when the competition between banks become more intense.

REFERENCES Krupp, J. (2013, January 23). Insurance premium rises likely to ease up. Retrieved April 2013, from http://www. stuff. co. nz/business/money/8210092/Insurance-premium-rises-likely-to-ease-up Reserve Bank of New Zealand. (2008). Key information summaries of locally incorporated banks, December 2008. Retrieved April 2013, from Reserve Bank of New Zealand Homepage: http://rbnz. govt. nz/statistics/banksys/g1/data. html

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