RaboPlus Innovation Proves a Winner Despite Economic Downturn

RaboPlus' what is believed to be a New Zealand first - www.BankaRate.co.nz, offers a limited number of exclusive term deposit rates that are typically higher than comparable offerings from the major banks, on a "first in, first served" basis.

Wellington, New Zealand, December 17, 2008 --(PR.com)-- RaboPlus has successfully trialled what is believed to be a New Zealand first - www.BankaRate.co.nz. BankaRate offers a limited number of exclusive term deposit rates that are typically higher than comparable offerings from the major banks, on a "first in, first served" basis.

"It's the Term Deposit equivalent of Air New Zealand's very successful initiative GrabaSeat. Customers go online to choose the term deposit that suits them, and then follow some simple steps to purchase that rate. There are a finite number of these special rates on offer, and you can see how many are left in real time on RaboPlus's BankaRate website," says General Manager of RaboPlus, Mike Heath.

"In a tough economic climate New Zealanders are looking for security and a good return on investment - RaboPlus is leading the way on both."

Rabobank, the parent company of RaboPlus, is the only AAA rated bank in New Zealand; a rating that was reaffirmed by Moody's in November and Standard and Poor's in October.

"And investors have additional peace of mind, as RaboPlus has a guarantee under the New Zealand deposit guarantee scheme."

Mike Heath says BankaRate's special offers are already in hot demand.

"The first set of rates offered under the BankaRate.co.nz promotion was snapped up within 36 hours. A new set of rates will be launched this week.

"The response confirms our position that if you offer innovative products and good returns, you will attract savvy investors, despite the economic downturn," Mr Heath says.

RaboPlus's BankaRate term deposits will be offered on a regular basis.

And in another innovative 'first'; RaboPlus was the first banking service to bring a Cash PIE (Portfolio Investment Entity) to market in December last year. This offering continues to attract new customers, and investment in RaboPlus's PIE product, the Cash Advantage Fund (CAF), has exceeded the $500 million milestone - making it the seventh largest single fund in New Zealand.

The CAF was set up jointly by RaboPlus and AMP Capital Investors in response to the tax benefits resulting from the Portfolio Investment Entities (PIE) regime, introduced on October 1 2007.

"To break through the $500 million mark within a year is great news. Now more than ever investors are looking for competitive returns, so the CAF with its additional tax benefits is particularly attractive to investors at the moment," says Mike Heath.

The Cash Advantage Fund has tax capped at 30% and, Mr Heath says, it has been designed to provide investors with an investment similar to an on-call bank deposit.

"The funds are placed on-call with our parent company, Rabobank. Rabobank's track record and traditionally conservative approach is very appealing in the current economic climate."

AMP Capital Investors' Head of Sales and Marketing Anthony Edmonds says the Cash Advantage Fund is proving extremely popular with investment advisers throughout the country.

"The fund provides a solution that appeals to the clients of investment advisers on a number of levels. Online cash deposits with banks are a popular investment with Kiwis. And the CAF is further enhanced by the tax benefits of PIE, backed by the strength of Rabobank's AAA rating," says Mr Edmonds.

Note to editors:

Further information on BankaRate can be found at http://www.bankarate.co.nz.

The RaboPlus Term Deposit Investment Statement is available at http://www.RaboPlus.co.nz.

The Moody's and Standard and Poor's reports reaffirming Rabobank's AAA credit rating are available at www.RaboPlus.co.nz.

Further information about the deposit guarantee scheme is available, free of charge and at all reasonable times, on the Internet site maintained by, or on behalf of, the Treasury www.treasury.govt.nz.

The Cash Advantage Fund Investment Statement is available at www.RaboPlus.co.nz or by calling 0800 22 44 33.

The Cash Advantage Fund is a Portfolio Investment Entity (PIE). In a PIE, income is no longer taxed at the fund level, but allocated to investors and taxed at the investor's Prescribed Investor Rate (PIR - the personal tax rate that is levied for managed funds). This is of benefit to those investors on a marginal tax rate of 39 per cent. A PIR is similar to an individual's marginal tax rate with one difference - the top rate for PIR under the PIE regime is 30 per cent.

Mike Heath
+64 4 819 2812