new asb logo asb bank center 1991

ASB Bank center, 1991.

new counter layout 1950

New counter layout, 1950.

St Lukes branch 1979
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An advertisement appearing in the Auckland Times in 1845 struck a chord with leading Auckland businessmen. 'What have the working classes done,' stated the advert, 'that they should be denied the national advantages and privileges of a savings bank?' Prompted into action, leading Auckland citizen and merchant, John Logan Campbell, offered to serve as a trustee and secretary of a savings bank, and gathered around him a group of similarly-minded supporters.

Two years later, in 1847, the Auckland Savings Bank opened for business with an express community-focused philosophy offering banking services and housing loans for middle and lower income sectors of the population. Though expansion in the initial years was slow, by the early 1860s, as Auckland's population climbed over 10,000, the ASB had 900 customers with deposits in the region of 29,000. By 1900, the volume of transactions in the ASB exceeded 1m.

Like other savings banks worldwide, the Auckland Savings Bank, to be true to its founding doctrine, required its surplus to be directed, in part, to charitable activities which might benefit the community. In 1906, a special bill allowed the Auckland Savings Bank to devote 10,000 toward the cost of the Auckland Technical College in Wellesley Street and by the 1920s, the ASB was making substantial contributions to causes such as the Knox home for incurables, Institute of the Blind, St John's Ambulance Association, and the Plunket Society, among others.

The bank expanded rapidly during the 1960s, opening 39 new branches that decade, and was assisted in the 1970s by gradual decreases in the proportion of bank funds required to be invested in government securities. In 1984, under the fourth Labour Government, the pace of deregulation in the financial sector intensified to the point at which the Auckland Savings Bank became a full service bank.

In May 1988, the Trustee Banks Restructuring Act came into force, with the intention of establishing trustee banks as public companies. The response of the ASB was to establish a trust (ASB Bank Community Trust) and place the shares of the ASB Bank Limited in control of the trust. ASB Bank directors undertook a feasibility study of potential international partners and in 1989 the decision was made to join with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Later that year, Commonwealth Bank of Australia purchased (75 percent) of the shares in ASB Bank Limited from the Trust for $252m.

By 1996, the Auckland Savings Bank was the fifth largest bank operating in the New Zealand market, and its aggressive marketing was closing the gap further on competitors. As additional branches were added in smaller South Island centres, like Timaru, the ASB reported a record after-tax profit of $71m. By 1997, its share of the national banking market had increased from 10 percent to 15 percent as bank lending grew an additional 20 percent and assets rose to $11 billion, with shareholders funds of $573 million.

In 1997, after trialling a system for 12 months, the ASB entered the internet banking market with internet banking product, BankDirect: it was the first bank outside those in the United States to do so. Electronic commerce provided a new distribution channel for the bank, without the substantial investment in infrastructure required in the traditional branch structure. In 2000, building on the success of the BankDirect launch, ASB Securities became the first in New Zealand to provide online share trading in both the New Zealand and Australian stock markets. That year, the ASB Bank was purchased outright by the Australian owned Commonwealth Bank giving the New Zealand subsidiary full access to the largest retail banking group in Australasia.

bank staff processing

Bank staff processing.

24 hour atm

24 hour ATM lobby.

Kashin the friendly elephant

Kashin the friendly elephant.

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