Angry enough to withdraw $190,000 in $20 notes from his bank

July 25, 2023


Huzzah huzzah for artist Roger Griffith. Roger isn’t a poor man. He has a gallery in New York City. He has NZ $190,000 in Westpac Bank who he had been with for 25 years.

When Roger came to ask for mortgage for a $385,000 property in Mapua the bank refused. On top of his NZ $190,000 in cash Roger was also going to sell his $110,000 campervan. That would leave the bank with about $90,000 to loan and that’s well more than the %20 deposit they require.

So why did Westpac refuse the mortgage? They pointed out that Roger Griffith is an artist without a regular income and therefore doesn’t qualify at all.

The last straw for Roger Griffiths was when Westpac lost $110 million in a loan to Lane Walker Rudkin. He told press;

“They can lose $110 million with LWR but turn down a normal customer who has never missed a loan payment,” he said. “If they don’t have the trust in me after 25 years, there’s a problem for Westpac.”

Roger’s response was not only to withdraw his entire $190,000 savings but to do it in $20 notes.

After a discussion with the bank they finally agreed to have all the money ready in his local branch for 9am. They counted each note out and provided bags for the artist to takehis money away. He did so and carried to the Nelson Building Society.

Griffith’s reason for picking Nelson was that he felt it was part of the community. His final message to Westpac was;

“If you don’t support the community, the community won’t support you.”


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About Paul Knowski

Andrew is Money Lion's Media Innovations Director. While he's working from Money Lion's second London office.

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