The Ladies Bank

The first venture of its kind in New Zealand, The Ladies Bank was opened on the 14 December 1958. The Ladies Bank and BNZ Travel Center were opened simultaneously and shared the newly refurbished ground floor space of the Auckland BNZ building on the corner of Queen and Swanson street.

The Ladies Bank purpose was to cater exclusively for lady customers. BNZ recognised the unique needs of the modern women and her potential to build the Banks customer base.  The ‘Ladies Bank’ was furnished with deep seated colourful armchairs, timber walls, a large fish tank, writing desk and native shrubs and trees. The environment was to be a welcoming departure from the old male dominate banking environment.

With a staff of five, including one male, the branch was described as “a striking departure from New Zealand banking tradition in its function – to cater exclusively for women – and in its décor and styling.”

“As well as the usual banking services, adventurous ladies could avail themselves of the newly opened travel centre.”

The significance of the Ladies Bank for its time is perhaps best reflected in the press coverage. This quote taken from the obituary of Claude Haswell, who whilst Auckland Manager oversaw the completion of the ‘Ladies Bank’:

‘At first the scorn of our competitors, it was soon receiving worldwide notice – on colour television in Los Angeles, in local and overseas magazine articles, over Radio NZ. It is now an Auckland Institution.’

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Sam cartoon - 1958

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Ladies Bank Newspaper Advert for Opening Event - 1958

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Ladies Bank Interior