Reserve Bank gives thumbs up to Heartland licence

The Reserve Bank has approved Heartland New Zealand's application to be a licensed bank, ending a long wait for the lender.

The central bank says Heartland has become New Zealand's 22nd registered bank.

Securing a banking licence has been a key plank of Heartland's strategy in a shift away from a new regulatory regime that imposed stricter conditions on non-bank financial institutions.

"Heartland, as a bank, needs to retain the advantages of being small: local and accessible, at all times seeking to be innovative," Heartland chief executive Jeff Greenslade says in a statement.

Shares in Heartland rose 3c following this morning's announcement and are trading at 70c on the NZX.

Last month Heartland had its investment grade BBB- credit rating affirmed with a stable outlook by Standard & Poor's, which cited the lender's strength as very strong capital and earnings assessment, good geographic and business diversity, and sticking to its timeline for its post-merger plan.

Heartland had been hoping to update shareholders on its strategy as a fully-fledged bank at the annual meeting on November 30, and give them "greater comfort that the outcome on bank registration can be meaningfully addressed at the meeting."

Its expectation of a November decision was based on the customary pace for New Zealand incorporated applicants.

(BusinessDesk)


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Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

Let me be the first them to say well done to the team at Heartland.

Funny that the comments are so few when it's positive news......... I guess some just enjoy being glass half empty sort of people.

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