Type State-owned enterprise
Founded May 2002
Headquarters Wellington, New Zealand
Paul Brock (Chief Executive)
Rob Morrison (Chairman of Board of Directors)
Products Banking and financial services
Number of employees 900+
Kiwibank Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the state-owned enterprise New Zealand Post Limited. Through Kiwibank, New Zealand Post provides banking services through its PostShops (Post Offices) and joint venture Books & More and Papermate outlets throughout New Zealand. Kiwibank is owned by the New Zealand government and the company’s Board of Directors was chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolgerfrom 2001–2010. The current Chairman of the Board of Directors is Rob Morrison.
The bank originated from Alliance Party policy during the 1999—2002 term of the Labour-led coalition government.
Jim Anderton revealed in his valedictory speech that after the issue had previously been discussed by cabinet for months, he had spent three hours trying to convince then Finance Minister Michael Cullen.
Annette King told Cullen: “Michael, Jim’s beaten back every argument against the bank we’ve ever put up. For God’s sake, give him the bloody bank.”
Cullen replied: “Oh, all right then.”
Kiwibank launched in 2002 with 211 branches open nationwide by 30 June.
Kiwibank invested NZ$8m into a 51% shareholding in New Zealand Home Loans, a home loan lender specialising in debt reduction, in June 2006, and increased this in 2008 by a further 25% and took 100% in 2011. New Zealand Home Loans continues to grow offering an alternative to the traditional banking model and have a nationwide network of over 75 franchises.
In 2012 Kiwibank purchased Gareth Morgan Investments (GMI) for an undisclosed sum.
Kiwibank has won the Sunday Star Times/Cannex banking awards, in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 for offering the best value across their range of products.
Other awards won by Kiwibank include:
Bank of the Year – New Zealand, The Banker, 2009, 2010
Sunday Star-Times’ Bank of the Year, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012
New Zealand’s Most Trusted Bank, Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand Awards, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012
The Kiwibank Model: Postal Banks to Serve Local Communities
by Ellen Brown
Postal banks are now thriving in New Zealand, not as a historical artifact but as a popular new innovation. When they were instituted in 2002, it was not to save the post office but to save New Zealand families and small businesses from big-bank predators. By 2001, Australian mega-banks controlled some 80% of New Zealand’s retail banking. Profits went abroad and were maximized by closing less profitable branches, especially in rural areas. The result was to place hardships on many New Zealand families and small businesses.
The New Zealand government decided to launch a state-owned bank that would compete with the Aussies. They called their new bank Kiwibank after their national symbol, the kiwi bird. But the government team planning the new bank faced major challenges. How could they keep costs low while still providing services in communities throughout New Zealand?
Their solution was to open bank branches in post offices. Kiwibank was established as a subsidiary of the government-owned New Zealand Post. The Kiwibank website states:
Back in 2002, we launched with a thought: New Zealand needs a better banking alternative—a bank that provides real value for money, that has Kiwi values at heart, and that keeps Kiwi money where it belongs—right here, in New Zealand.
So we set up shop in PostShops throughout the country, putting us in more locations than any other bank in New Zealand literally overnight (without wasting millions on new premises!).
Suddenly, New Zealanders had a choice in banking. In an early “move your money” campaign, they voted with their feet. In an island nation of only 4 million people, in its first five years Kiwibank attracted 500,000 customers away from the big banks. It consistently earns the nation’s highest customer satisfaction ratings, forcing the Australia-owned banks to improve their service in order to compete.
Information from Wikipedia and Ellen Brown.