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"Heartland” bank gets final thumbs up from depositors

"Heartland” bank gets final thumbs up from depositors

Dec. 10 (BusinessDesk) New Zealand's "heartland bank" is one step closer to becoming a reality after CBS Canterbury depositors gave the thumbs up to the $2.2 billion merger with Pyne Gould Corp.'s Marac finance Unit and South Cross Building Society in a seventh and final vote.

Building Society Holdings Ltd., the name of the new merged group, confirmed a target date for final court orders of Dec. 16, leaving only a small number of implementation steps to be completed before it launches in early January next year, according to a statement from the company.

"We certainly think we are well placed to look after the part of the market which is currently underserviced - that being the banking market for SMEs, rural businesses and New Zealand individuals and families," said chairman Bruce Irvine.

"We firmly believe the merger is a compelling value enhancing proposition for members and shareholders that would not otherwise be available to each of us on a standalone basis.

"The next milestone for the newly merged entity will be a listing on the NZX by February next year, followed by an application for a license in the middle of 2011.

The seventh and final 'yes' vote ends a protracted process in which the Marac, Southern Cross and CBS were forced to recanvas depositors and debenture holders after they initially failed to reach a quorum to pass the motion.Pyne Gould shares were unchanged at 38 cents, having declined from a high of 50 cents in January.

(BusinessDesk) 17:29:39

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