Historic Timeline

We’ve been part of New Zealand for over 150 years.

1860 – 1899

1860s

  • Our first offices open in Queen Street, Auckland.
  • We open branches in Dunedin, Wellington, and Christchurch.
  • We acquire the account of the Central Government from the Union Bank.
  • London branch opens and is immediately appointed to act for the New Zealand Government in raising funds.history london store 1876

 1870s

  • We open a branch in Melbourne.
  • We absorb the Fiji Banking and Commercial Trading Company Ltd and open a branch in Levuka, Fiji.

 1880s

Due to the depression, our head office moves to London to ‘broaden the management expertise and improve confidence’.

1894

The New Zealand government became a majority owner of the Bank of New Zealand after it nearly collapsed due to the Long Depression, which started in the 1870s.

1900 – 1999

1900s

  • At this time, we have 119 branches and agencies with 551 staff.
  • Our head office returns to New Zealand.

1914 – 1918

  • WWI conscription leads to a shortage of staff.
  • Women are allowed to work for the bank for the first time.
  • 506 Bank of New Zealand officers join the forces for WWI; 71 are killed in action.

1920s

We establish New Zealand’s first long-term mortgage department. Interest is charged at 6% and repayment terms are up to 36 years.

1930s

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is established and we stop issuing our own bank notes.

1940–1945

  • We lend the New Zealand Government £1million interest-free for the duration of WWII as a ‘contribution to the common cause’.
  • 921 Bank of New Zealand officers join the forces during WII; 54 are killed in action.
  • We open New Zealand’s first mobile banking office in a caravan to meet the needs of American servicemen.
  • We open New Zealand’s first personal loans department to grant loans to private individuals.
  • Finance Minister Walter Nash publicly announces that the New Zealand Government intends to nationalise the Bank of New Zealand, offering £7,933,000 in cash to 8,500 shareholders.

1950s 

  • At the beginning of the 1950s, we have 292 branches and agencies with 2,140 staff.
  • We get our own coat of arms.
  • A ladies’ bank opens in Auckland – New Zealand’s first bank for women.history ladies bank

1960s

  • We celebrate our centennial.
  • We establish the Bank of New Zealand Trading and Savings Bank.
  • We buy our first computer.

1970s

  • We’re a major sponsor of the Christchurch Commonwealth Games and have a unique onsite branch.
  • We introduce VISA to New Zealand as a debit card to current accounts. (In 1980, it becomes a credit card.)

1980s

  • We introduce EFTPOS to New Zealand through a pilot scheme with petrol stations.
  • We launch BNZ Life Insurance Limited.

1990s

  • The New Zealand government recapitalises BNZ, following the bank's announcement of a loss in 1989.
  • We start sponsorship of the Kiwi Recovery Programme.
  • We become part of the National Australia Bank Group.
  • We enter into a joint partnership to form Loyalty New Zealand and manage the Fly Buys Rewards programme.
  • Our GlobalPlus credit card launches the country’s first and only direct-earning loyalty programme – earning AirPoints DollarsTM dollars with Air New Zealand.
  • We introduce Direct Banking – a ‘virtual branch’ that customers can access by phone and fax.
  • We launch our Internet Banking, followed by on-line securities trading and FX dealing.

2000 – 2009

  • We launch Internet Banking for Business.
  • We introduce online statements, text alerts, and the extra security feature ‘NetGuard’ for Internet Banking.
  • Breaking traditional banking barriers, we introduce innovative ways for customer banking and money management. And our ‘branches’ become ‘stores’ reflecting our customer-focused approach to retail banking.
  • Our contact centre wins awards for excellence in service: 
    • ‘Best in banking’
    • ‘Best across all industries’
    • ‘Best in outbound customer calling’.
  • In 2009 we become carbon neutral. 

2010 – today

  • We become New Zealand's largest Fairtrade Accredited Workplace.
  • We begin sponsorship of Plunket and the five New Zealand Super Rugby teams.
  • We launch Closed For Good, New Zealand's largest single corporate volunteering event. 
  • After the Christchurch earthquake, we are committed to being a sponsor and tenant at EPIC (Enterprise Precinct Innovation Campus) - a ground-breaking hub situated at the heart of the Christchurch rebuild.
  • We open Future Hub, which offers experience advice and support to help Canterbury property owners get back on their feet.
  • We launch the BNZ Mobile Banking app followed by the BNZ Mobile Business Banking app and PayClip.