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History

Join us for a journey back in time.

The great honour of the present is to respect and care for the past, so that it might enrich the life of the future.

In the 1860s, while Central Otago was in the grip of gold fever, Bank of New Zealand began to build its history. On the virtual timeline below view world, New Zealand and BNZ events, from world wars to innovation and new technology.

1861 - 1900

Oct 1861 First offices open in Queen Street Auckland

Dec 1861 Dunedin branch opens

Jan 1862 Wellington branch opens. The BNZ Centre, which opened in 1984, was built on the same site

Mar 1862 Christchurch branch opens

May 1862 Bank of New Zealand acquires the account of the central Government from the Union Bank

Oct 1862 London branch opens and is immediately appointed to act for the New Zealand Government in raising funds

1872 Melbourne branch opens

1876 Absorbs the Fiji Banking and Commercial Trading Company Ltd. Opens branch in Levuka, Fiji

1889 Due to the depression, head office moves to London to ‘broaden the management expertise and improve confidence’

1900 - today

1900 119 branches and agencies with 551 staff

1901 The head office returns to New Zealand.

1914 – 1918 WWI conscription leads to a shortage of staff. Women admitted to Bank staff for the first time.

1914-1918 WWI - 560 Bank of New Zealand officers join the forces, 71 are killed in action

1926 Bank of New Zealand establishes New Zealand’s first long-term mortgage department. Interest is charged at 6%, and repayment terms are up to 36 years

1934 Bank of New Zealand stops issuing its own bank notes

1940 Bank of New Zealand lends the New Zealand Government £1million interest free, for the duration of the war plus six months, as a ‘contribution to the common cause’

1943 To meet the needs of American servicemen, the Bank opens New Zealand’s first mobile banking office in a caravan

1944 Bank of New Zealand opens New Zealand’s first personal loans department to grant loans to private individuals

1945 Finance Minister Walter Nash publicly announces that the Government intends to nationalise Bank of New Zealand, offering £7,933,000 in cash to 8500 shareholders

1950 292 branches and agencies with 2140 staff

1954 Coat of Arms granted to Bank of New Zealand  

1958 Ladies’ Bank opened in Auckland - New Zealand’s first bank for women

1961 Bank of New Zealand’s centennial celebrations

1964 Bank of New Zealand Trading and Savings Bank established.

1966 The Bank purchases its first computer

1967 Databank Systems Limited established as the inter-bank clearing house

1974 Bank of New Zealand is a major sponsor of the Christchurch Commonwealth Games with a unique onsite branch

1978 Bank of New Zealand introduces VISA to New Zealand, as a debit card to current accounts. In 1980 it became a credit card

1985 Bank of New Zealand introduces EFTPOS to New Zealand through a pilot scheme with petrol stations

1985 Bank of New Zealand launches BNZ Life Insurance Limited

1991 Sponsorship of the Kiwi Recovery programme commences

1992 Bank of New Zealand becomes part of the National Australia Bank Group

1996 Bank of New Zealand enters into a joint partnership to form Loyalty New Zealand and manage the Fly Buys rewards programme 

1998 GlobalPlus credit card launches the country’s first and only direct-earning loyalty programme, earning airpoint dollars with Air New Zealand.

1997 Bank of New Zealand introduces Direct Banking – a ‘virtual branch’ which customers can access by phone and fax

1999 Bank of New Zealand launches BNZ Internet Banking, followed by on-line securities trading and FX dealing

2003 Internet banking for business customers is launched

2006 Bank of New Zealand signs an agreement with China Union Pay to accept their cards at our ATMs and Eftpos machines

2006 Online statements, text alerts and extra security feature ‘Netguard’ for internet banking is introduced.

2008 Breaking traditional banking barriers, BNZ introduces innovative ways for customer banking and money management. ‘Branches’ become ‘stores’ reflecting BNZ’s customer-focused approach to retail banking.

2008  BNZ joins the National Retailers’ Association

2008 BNZ Contact Centre wins awards for excellence in service:

  • 6 years in a row ‘Best in banking’
  • 5 years in a row ‘Best across all industries’
  • 2 years in a row ‘Best in outbound customer calling’

2009 BNZ sponsorship of Katherine Mansfield Awards celebrates 50 years