Bank of New Zealand

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Bank of New Zealand
Founded2 July 1861; 160 years ago (2 July 1861)
HeadquartersAuckland, New Zealand
Key people
Dan Huggins (CEO)
ProductsBanking, financial and saving services
Number of employees
ParentNational Australia Bank
RatingAA- (S&P)[1]

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) is one of New Zealand's big four banks and has been operating in the country since the first office was opened in Auckland in October 1861 followed shortly after by the first branch in Dunedin in December 1861.[2] The bank operates a variety of financial services covering retail, business and institutional banking and employs over 5,000 people in New Zealand. In 1992 the bank was purchased by the National Australia Bank and has since then operated as a subsidiary, but it retains local governance with a New Zealand board of directors.[3]


The original Bank of New Zealand logo used for 147 years until 1 October 2008
  • 1861: The Bank of New Zealand formed as a private company and incorporated by The New Zealand Bank Act 1861[4] creating the company and authorising it to issue banknotes. First branch in New Zealand opened in Queen Street in Auckland and a Dunedin branch is opened shortly afterward.
  • 1862: Wellington, Christchurch and London branches opened. Gained the banking account of the New Zealand Government from the Union Bank of Australia and became an agent to raise debt in the United Kingdom for the Government.

In the 1860s and 1870s capital was brought into New Zealand by the government and others. There was plenty of employment, development moved quickly and very good prospects brought property prices to high values. In the 1880s prices of staple products fell very low, the rabbit pest cut wool production and the government cut expenditure on public works by 75 per cent. Land fell to half its former value and was impossible to realise, many runholders and businessmen were ruined and the working classes were unable to purchase goods or pay their debts. There was no dairying or frozen meat industry.[5]

  • Investors withdrew their capital.[5] The export of frozen meat began in the 1880s refer Canterbury Lamb and dairy products soon followed see Anchor butter.
  • 1894: The BNZ saved by Government legislation in June.
  • 1895: The BNZ takes over the Colonial Bank of New Zealand which was in crisis.
  • 1940: £1 million interest free loan as a war contribution to the Government. The 74 women in the company rise to more than 700 by 1945.
  • 1943: Mobile branch opened in a caravan for American servicemen, Night banking introduced in Auckland and Wellington.
  • 1944: Personal loans department opened. Government announces intention to nationalise the bank.
  • 1945: Nash Government introduces the Bank of New Zealand Bill. Once passed the Government paid £7,933,000 in cash, transferable stock, and tax-free stock to the Bank's 8,500 shareholders for their shares. The average holding was 495 shares.
  • 1966: First computer purchased an IBM 360/30 with a 16k memory; Databank Systems Ltd setup in 1967 with the National Bank of New Zealand; the other three trading banks join in 1968.
  • 1978: Visa debit card introduced.
  • 1980: Visa credit cards introduced.
  • 1984: BNZ Centre completed on Willis Street, Wellington.
  • 1985: Eftpos introduced through petrol stations in a pilot program.
  • 1987: Bank floated on sharemarket with a 15% stock offering.
  • 1989: Government reduces its share to 51% by selling 34%; with 30% sold to Capital Markets Ltd, and the remainder to the general public
  • 1990: Government bail out of $380 million to avoid collapse. Bolger was told on the Sunday after the 1990 election that the bank has to report by Friday, and if its not given support by then, it will collapse (because of Australian loans). It held 40 percent of the commercial paper in New Zealand. So if it collapsed, half of New Zealand's companies would have collapsed.[6]
The Bank of New Zealand logo used between 2008 and 2010
  • 1992: National Australia Bank (NAB) purchased the BNZ and the BNZ becomes a subsidiary of the Australian bank.[7]
  • 1992: First call centre opened in Auckland.
  • 1998: Head office moves to Auckland.
  • 1999: BNZ launched Internet Banking.
  • 1999: BNZ Private Banking network launched.[8]
  • 2000: 192 branches, 5562 staff.
  • 2008: 1 October: The bank rebrands itself as 'BNZ' with a change in logo and colours.[9]
  • 2020: BNZ announces the closure of 38 branches over the next seven months as a result of the economic effects of COVID-19.[10]

Core business functions[edit]

Retail banking[edit]

For retail customers, Bank of New Zealand offers a range of products and services that include savings and investments, home loans, credit cards, personal loans, insurance and international and migrant banking.[11] Customers are able to bank using telephone banking, internet banking or by visiting one of 180 branches around New Zealand.


Business banking at Bank of New Zealand has been branded BNZ Partners and provides a full range of banking services for small, medium and large businesses. Services include transactional bank accounts, investments, loans and finance, card and payment, insurance and international banking services for businesses dealing with exports, imports and foreign exchange.[12] Bank of New Zealand’s business banking division provides banking staff with specialist knowledge of various industry sectors consisting of Agribusiness, Medical, Professional, Property, Not-for-profit, Franchising and Iwi.[13]


Bank of New Zealand’s institutional banking division provides wholesale banking services for large corporate, financial institutions and government entities. These cover a wide range of sectors, including primary industries; manufacturing and retailing; energy; utilities; telecommunications and infrastructure; property; local government; health; and education. In December 2010, BNZ was appointed as lead arranger for the newly formed Auckland Council’s $600 million syndicated bank loan facility.[14] In June 2010, BNZ was awarded the contract to provide the Auckland Council with comprehensive transactional services and over-the counter services.[15]


Main management and administration functions for Bank of New Zealand are located in Wellington and Auckland and the bank operates a nationwide network of 180 retail stores and business centres (branded as Partner Centres).[3]


Bank of New Zealand became the first bank in New Zealand to become carbon neutral. The achievement was announced in September 2010 after a three-year initiative to reduce emissions through greater energy and vehicle efficiency, encouraging changed behaviour by employees at work and at home and through offsetting of unavoidable emissions by purchasing quality carbon credits.[16] The most visible aspect of the initiative came through the construction of three brand new, energy efficient buildings to house the bulk of the company’s management and administration staff. Two of these building are located in the Auckland CBD, one at Quay Park and the other at 80 Queen Street. The third is the Harbour Quays complex on the Wellington waterfront.[17] The Deloitte Centre at 80 Queen Street was tagged "the greenest building in the land"[18] after it became the first building in New Zealand to receive three Five Green Stars awards.[19] The BNZ Quay Park building was nominated for a BeST Design Award in 2008 for Offices and Workplace Environments.[20]


Coat of arms of Bank of New Zealand
BNZ Arms.svg
The arms of BNZ consist of:[21]
On a Wreath of the Colours, standing on a Mount of earth with ferns proper growing thereon, a Kiwi Or. Not shown here is the crest which sits above the shield. A wreath of the colours is a twisted piece of material the colours of the shield; i.e. Blue and gold. Above that is a mound of earth with (New Zealand) ferns growing upon it. Standing on the earth is a gold (or) Kiwi bird.
Azure, within two chevonels Or, five bezants, in chief three mullets chevronwise and one in the base Argent. What the description means. The shield or escutcheon is the first part mentioned. Azure means blue so the shield is blue. A chevonel is similar to an inverted V and there are two of these and their colour is or which means gold. Gold is usually shown as yellow in drawings. Between the two chevonels are five bezants which are round disk-like shapes often representing coins. No colour is stated as bezants by definition are gold (or). The Chief is the upper part of the shield. A mullet is a five pointed star and there are three of these in the chief. Chevronwise means that the three are placed similar to a chevron; i.e. one above and two lower. The base is the bottom of the shield and one star is placed there. The four stars are coloured argent which is silver or white as usually depicted.


  1. ^ "Bank of New Zealand". Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bank Financial Strength Dashboard.
  2. ^ "History". BNZ. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Get to know us". BNZ. Archived from the original on 23 September 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Bank of New Zealand Act 1861 (24 and 25 Victoriae 1861 No 1)". Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  5. ^ a b Banker Passes. Mr William Watson Evening Post Issue 11, 13 July 1938, Page 13
  6. ^ Espiner, Guyon (2017). The 9th Floor: Conversations with five New Zealand Prime Ministers. Wellington: Radio New Zealand & Bridget Williams Books. p. 97. ISBN 9781988533223.
  7. ^ "BNZ now worth more than five times what it was when NAB bought it 20 years ago, Deutsche Bank analysts estimate". 22 January 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  8. ^ "BNZ opens private banking network - Good Returns". Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  9. ^ "BNZ rebranding - thank the pigs". National Business Review. 1 October 2008. Archived from the original on 8 February 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  10. ^ Edmonds, Susan (19 November 2020). "BNZ to close 38 bank branches". Stuff. Archived from the original on 19 November 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Personal banking - BNZ". Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  12. ^ "International". BNZ. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Agribusiness". BNZ. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  14. ^ Udanga, Romy (24 December 2010). "Auckland Council secures $600m rainy day stash". Stuff. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  15. ^ "BNZ and PostShop chosen for Auckland Council's services". Stuff. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  16. ^ "BNZ becomes carbon-neutral". Stuff. 30 September 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  17. ^ "Protecting our environment". BNZ. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  18. ^ Crossley, Jazial (2 November 2010). "The greenest building in the land". National Business Review. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "BeST Awards 2008". Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  21. ^ Low, Charles (1971). A Roll of Australian Arms. Adelaide: Rigby Limited. p. 12. ISBN 0-85179-149-2.

External links[edit]