PSIS co-operative bank launched

New Zealand's first co-operative bank is a reality.

PSIS has been registered as a bank by the Reserve Bank of new Zealand.

The new bank, 100% owned by its customers, will specialise in personal banking.

PSIS chairman Sir David Gascoigne said securing bank registration would not change the way the society operated, or its commitment to its customers.

“One change that our customers will notice from today is that our name will be different, as we’ll be called The Co-operative Bank.

“This name better reflects our distinct difference from other banks – the fact that we’re actually a customer-owned co-operative,” Sir David said.

“It also moves us strongly away from a long-held misconception that we do business only with public servants. In fact, we’ve been open to all New Zealanders since 1995.”

PSIS chief executive Dr Girol Karacaoglu said the co-operative model was hugely successful worldwide, particularly so during the current global economic crisis.
“At a time when investors’ faith has been shaken throughout the world, co-operatives have not only survived but thrived,” he said.

“People have been attracted and remained loyal to the conservative governance and risk management that’s part of the co-operative ethos. We exist solely for the benefit of our members, and their best interests are our number one priority.”

Becoming a member-owned bank ensured the society's relationship with its members remained unchanged and we’re not distracted by the need to satisfy shareholder returns, he said.

“We’ll be a bank driven by the values and heart of a co-operative,” Dr Karacaoglu said.

Two new directors – Steven Fyfe and Ross Wilson – have been appointed to The Co-operative Bank board with effect from tomorrow.

Mr Fyfe recently retired from the ANZ National Bank group, where he worked for 29-years. He was a director and chief financial officer for The National Bank from 1997-2004, and more recently he was deputy chief executive of ANZ National from 2009-2011.

Mr Wilson is a solicitor and mediator who has worked in a range of roles within a variety of trade unions since 1979, culminating in his role as president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions from 1999-2007. Mr Wilson has served on a number of boards, including as chairman of the Accident Compensation Corporation and as a director of Kiwi Rail Holdings Limited.

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