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SBS already contributing to Waikato economy

First North Island branch of SBS opening in Hamilton week of 16 December (either Mon/Tues)

SBS already contributing to Waikato economy

The doors have yet to open to Southland Building Society¹s Hamilton branch, but the largest New Zealand owned mortgage lender has already sunk half a million dollars into the local economy.

The first of several such branches planned for the North Island, SBS is committed to making Hamilton the flagship for the northern retail network, said Manager Hamilton, Steve Beale.

"We¹ve put our hearts into this project and we believe that the people of Waikato will embrace the SBS story. But first, we have to show that we¹re here to stay, that we¹re committed to the Waikato for the long haul."

The half million-dollar investment to date includes leasing arrangements and the interior development of retail space in the landmark Novotel building, set-up costs, marketing and recruitment.

"We¹ve already employed three local women, Lea Hobbs, Lisa Wiles and Carole Findlay, and we¹ll be looking for another team member in the New Year."

With total assets at 30 September of $960 million, including mortgage advances of $906 million, SBS expects to break the $1 billion mark in mortgage advances next year.

"Hamilton is now an integral part of our growth plans, and we¹re looking forward to getting alongside the community and showing everyone just how we can make a difference."

"In the next financial year alone, we¹ll contribute at least another half a million dollars to the local economy, just through having a physical presence here," said Mr Beale.

SBS is the ultimate "people¹s bank" and the move into a provincial region such as the Waikato demonstrates that, said Chief Executive Ross Smith.

"We¹re New Zealand owned and operated, and 100% answerable to our members. The move into the Hamilton market demonstrates that in a very competitive industry, any gaps in the market are quickly identified and closed.

"Our members become stakeholders and our investment back into the community recognises that support."

Established in 1869, SBS is New Zealand¹s largest registered Building Society accounting for more than half the assets in the Building Society sector.

SBS already has branches in Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Gore and Invercargill, and serves members nationwide through a dedicated Contact Centre.

For further information: Tracey Lyall or Gerard Blank 03 365 1445 025 229 1838 or 025 303050

SBS Backgrounder

… SBS (Southland Building Society) is the largest New Zealand owned home mortgage lender in the country.

… SBS has in excess of 40 000 members.

… SBS recorded a record pre-tax operating surplus of $11 million in the last financial year, a 22% increase on the 1998-1999 financial year.

… Total assets of $960 million as at 30 September 2000.

… SBS has branches in Hamilton, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Gore and Invercargill.

… 110 people are employed by SBS throughout the country.

---------------------------- Corrie de Vries Glass Tower Public Relations Level 8, 148 Victoria Street Christchurch Ph (03) 365 1445 Fax (03) 3651446 Mobile (025) 721768


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