Check out how we’ve been part of New Zealand’s history.
1860 – 1899
- Our first offices open in Queen Street, Auckland.
- We open branches in Dunedin, Wellington, and Christchurch.
- We acquire the account of the Central Government from the Union Bank.
- London branch opens and is immediately appointed to act for the New Zealand Government in raising funds.
- We open a branch in Melbourne.
- We absorb the Fiji Banking and Commercial Trading Company Ltd and open a branch in Levuka, Fiji.
Due to the depression, our head office moves to London to ‘broaden the management expertise and improve confidence’.
The New Zealand government became a majority owner of the Bank of New Zealand after it nearly collapsed due to the Long Depression, which started in the 1870s.
1900 – 1999
- At this time, we have 119 branches and agencies with 551 staff.
- Our head office returns to New Zealand.
1914 – 1918
- WWI conscription leads to a shortage of staff.
- Women are allowed to work for the bank for the first time.
- 506 Bank of New Zealand officers join the forces for WWI; 71 are killed in action.
We establish New Zealand’s first long-term mortgage department. Interest is charged at 6% and repayment terms are up to 36 years.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is established and we stop issuing our own bank notes.
- We lend the New Zealand Government £1million interest-free for the duration of WWII as a ‘contribution to the common cause’.
- 921 Bank of New Zealand officers join the forces during WII; 54 are killed in action.
- We open New Zealand’s first mobile banking office in a caravan to meet the needs of American servicemen.
- We open New Zealand’s first personal loans department to grant loans to private individuals.
- Finance Minister Walter Nash publicly announces that the New Zealand Government intends to nationalise the Bank of New Zealand, offering £7,933,000 in cash to 8,500 shareholders.
- At the beginning of the 1950s, we have 292 branches and agencies with 2,140 staff.
- We get our own coat of arms.
- A ladies’ bank opens in Auckland – New Zealand’s first bank for women.
- We celebrate our centennial.
- We establish the Bank of New Zealand Trading and Savings Bank.
- We buy our first computer.
- We’re a major sponsor of the Christchurch Commonwealth Games and have a unique onsite branch.
- We introduce VISA to New Zealand as a debit card to current accounts. (In 1980, it becomes a credit card.)
- We introduce EFTPOS to New Zealand through a pilot scheme with petrol stations.
- We launch BNZ Life Insurance Limited.
- The New Zealand government recapitalises BNZ, following the bank's announcement of a loss in 1989.
- We start sponsorship of the Kiwi Recovery Programme.
- We become part of the National Australia Bank Group.
- We enter into a joint partnership to form Loyalty New Zealand and manage the Fly Buys Rewards programme.
- Our GlobalPlus credit card launches the country’s first and only direct-earning loyalty programme – earning AirPoints DollarsTM dollars with Air New Zealand.
- We introduce Direct Banking – a ‘virtual branch’ that customers can access by phone and fax.
- We launch our Internet Banking, followed by on-line securities trading and FX dealing.
2000 – 2009
- We launch Internet Banking for Business.
- We introduce online statements, text alerts, and the extra security feature ‘NetGuard’ for Internet Banking.
- Breaking traditional banking barriers, we introduce innovative ways for customer banking and money management. And our ‘branches’ become ‘stores’ reflecting our customer-focused approach to retail banking.
- Our contact centre wins awards for excellence in service:
- ‘Best in banking’
- ‘Best across all industries’
- ‘Best in outbound customer calling’.
- We celebrate 50 years of sponsoring the Katherine Mansfield writing awards.
2010 – today
- We begin sponsorship of Plunket and the five New Zealand Super Rugby teams.
- After the Christchurch earthquake, we are committed to being a sponsor and tenant at EPIC (Enterprise Precinct Innovation Campus) - a ground-breaking hub situated at the heart of the Christchurch rebuild.
- We open Future Hub, which offers experience advice and support to help Canterbury property owners get back on their feet.
- We launch the BNZ Mobile Banking app followed by the BNZ Mobile Business Banking app and PayClip.
For more information on our history, please contact the museum.