first bank president

First bank president, Sir George Grey.


The Savings Bank movement originated in Scotland, where a Presbyterian minister, Rev Henry Duncan, concerned that Friendly Societies and poor relief undermined the dignity of the poor, opened the world's first savings bank in Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire, 1810. Whereas existing banks required a minimum deposit of 10, the Ruthwell Parish Bank opened accounts on a sixpence. Members received interest, and surplus funds generated by the bank were used toward charity projects and to support long-term savings schemes for depositors.

The bank did not lend money to businesses, nor issue bank notes; however, the idea that a financial institution, cooperatively owned and funded by deposits, could make use of these funds for the betterment of the local community quickly took hold. Further banks were opened across the United Kingdom; within ten years, over 3m was held in deposits by UK savings banks. On the same principle, the first United States Savings and Loan Association was founded in 1831.

first purpose built premises

First purpose-built premises

The founders of New Zealand's first savings bank, the Auckland Savings Bank, were a group of some of the leading merchants and dignitaries of Auckland. The first meeting of bank enthusiasts took place in the Shortland Street premises of Brown and Campbell, and (Sir) John Logan Campbell, the bank's champion, assumed the role of first secretary. Other early trustees, all of whom donated their time and skills to the service of the bank, included Methodist missionary, the Reverend Thomas Buddle, Campbell's business partner William Brown, banker and entrepreneur James Dilworth, Rev John Churton, John Symonds, and merchant John Montefiore.

In 1847, the brick store of John Montefiore in Queen Street, opened to transact business for the Auckland Savings Bank. It was a hesitant start. By the end of the first year the bank had only 166 in deposits. Yet, the bank's powerful backers, including its first President, George Grey, were determined that it would continue.

Successive trustees included other notables of Auckland colonial life: ship-owner and first chairman of the Auckland Harbour Board, William Crush Daldy, merchant and warehouseman Archibald Clark, Josiah Clifton Firth, Alfred Buckland, and lawyer and founding director of the Bank of New Zealand, Thomas Russell. As the bank sought to enhance the economic life of the city, it was also common for Auckland mayors to serve as trustees, and 14 did during the nineteenth century.

Sir John Logan Campbell

Sir John Logan Campbell

ASB coat of arms

ASB's Coat of Arms.

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