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PSIS becomes New Zealand’s first Co-operative Bank

PSIS becomes New Zealand’s first Co-operative Bank

PSIS reached a significant milestone in its 83-year history today – by forming New Zealand’s first Co-operative Bank.

Effective from today – October 26 2011, PSIS has been granted registration as a registered bank from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

The new bank, 100 percent owned by its customers, will fittingly be called: “The Co-operative Bank” and will specialise in personal banking.

PSIS chairman, Sir David Gascoigne said the decision to pursue bank registration was one that was not made lightly.

“The Board concluded that our sound financial position, size and asset-base would be better served by the regulatory regime that surrounds the trading banks. Bank registration is also about better clarifying our position in the market It means we can officially call ourselves a bank, so everyone will understand what we do without having to explain it.”

“Our main focus has been the protection of our customers’ rights and privileges. Securing bank registration will not alter the way we operate, or our commitment to our customers. We’ll continue to operate the business on a sound and prudent basis. And we’re extremely proud of the fact that we’ll remain a co-operative and retain the essence of PSIS.”

“Our excellent personal service, and the fact our customers’ best interests are truly our number one priority, are just some of the key reasons our customer satisfaction is 96%.”

“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. 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.”

“In true co-operative style, our staff, along with a number of our customers, were involved in developing the name, logo and tagline of our new bank,” Sir David said.

PSIS CEO, Dr Girol Karacaoglu said the co-operative model is hugely successful worldwide and this has been particularly so during the recent global economic crisis.

“At a time when investors’ faith has been shaken throughout the world, co-operatives have not only survived but thrived. 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 ensures our relationship with our members remains unchanged and we’re not distracted by the need to satisfy shareholder returns. We’ll be a bank driven by the values and heart of a co-operative,” Dr Karacaoglu said.

“Over the next 12 months we’ll be implementing a number of initiatives that will further demonstrate our co-operative difference. We want to give our customers a better voice so they can have a say in how we do things and we aim to pay our co-operative customers, who are our owners, a rebate based on the level of business they do with us.”

The new name will be rolled out across the branch network over the next few weeks, starting today.

“It’s taken a lot of people a tremendous amount of hard work, commitment and dedication to make PSIS the success it has been for its first 83 years and we’re committed to ensuring The Co-operative Bank will forge a similar success over the next 83 years,” Dr Karacaoglu said.

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

“Both new directors bring to The Co-operative Bank a wide range of skills and an engagement with the community, business, and banking sectors that will add enormous value to the board’s deliberations,” said Sir David.

Mr Fyfe has recently retired from the ANZ National Bank group where he has 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 CEO of ANZ National from 2009-2011.

Mr Wilson is a solicitor and mediator who has worked in a range of roles within various 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 Chair of the Accident Compensation Corporation and as a Director of Kiwi Rail Holdings Limited.

“We’re delighted to have attracted two new Board Members of this calibre to The Co-operative Bank Board,” said Sir David.

ENDS

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