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PSIS celebrates 75 years

PSIS a fresh look in banking

Media Release
1 July 2003

PSIS celebrates 75 years

PSIS has undergone many changes since its inception 75 years ago when it was established on June 29, 1928 as a cooperative organisation to help New Zealanders working in the public service by providing low-cost financial services.

An initiative of the PSA, it was founded to safeguard the living standards of the public service during difficult times – including threats to income, poor salaries compared with private sector levels, and reluctance on the part of main-stream agencies to lend on favourable terms.

David Gascoigne, Chairman of the PSIS Board said today: “75 years of service not only makes it one of the longest serving Kiwi financial organisations, but one of the few that has remained New Zealand owned”.

“In 1928, a small group of PSA officials had a vision that in 2003 has been realised well beyond their original hopes and aspirations.

“PSIS is a success story of self-help and cooperation – organised for the benefit of each shareholding member on the basis of their contributions. The more use made of the service the more the benefits of membership were realised. It was founded for noble reasons and that same philosophy of putting people before profits still exists today,” Mr Gascoigne said.

In 1928, membership was limited to the PSA and that was later extended to other state unions, notably the Railway Officers’ Institute, the Post Office and Telegraph Officers Guild, and later the teacher organisations.

Today PSIS offers a full range of personal financial services and membership is open to all - no membership of any other organisation is required.

The PSIS has always been a very progressive organisation and because of its roots much less discriminatory than most other financial services organisations. “Not only did it lend money to public servants at a time when others were reluctant to do so but it also made loans to women, a long time before other financial organisations.

“Over its 75 year history it has weathered a number of storms but these have left it stronger and more determined to be the best financial services provider in the market. In 1979 it was placed under statutory management for some years and although that episode is now very much part of the organisation’s distant history, it did help in repositioning the organisation for its current activity and the way it is now structured - making it more robust than ever.

“The organisation’s values stem from its cooperative basis and the recognition that while we are subject to normal market disciplines, we are not primarily motivated by the need to profit from our transacting members. Our task is to enhance the value of the business in order to safeguard member’s savings, expand services and keep abreast of changes in the range and quality of service that the members themselves expect,” Mr Gascoigne said.

“Our consistent performance is a direct reflection of our customer satisfaction. This has been evidenced in the fact that for three consecutive years an independent banking survey, has found PSIS was rated by its customers as one of the best in terms of overall performance.

“It is our customers’ satisfaction that has led PSIS to a $10.0 million before tax profit in the 2002/2003 annual result. This is the first time this figure has reached eight figures. PSIS now has $680 million total assets and $64 million in reserves.

“The founders of PSIS would hardly recognise the present from the original organisation in terms of its size and complexity, or the systems and management that sustains its effectiveness and profitability. The founders would nevertheless be proud to have given birth to an organisation that throughout its 75 year history has taken pride in offering personalised, high-calibre service to a wide range of membership, managing on a very spirited basis to grow well in a very competitive marketplace,” Mr Gascoigne said.

A short history of PSIS is being written and will be available later in the year.


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