SBS eyes Auckland market

SBS Bank chief executive Ross Smith.
SBS Bank chief executive Ross Smith.

SBS Bank bosses are planning to expand into the Auckland housing market.

The bank, which recorded a pre-tax profit of $19.7m and an 18 per cent increase in operating surplus of $20.9 million for the 2013 financial year, planned to take advantage of growth opportunities in the the city.

SBS Bank chief executive Ross Smith said the demand for lending outside of the Auckland region had been subdued in the past year.

During coming months, SBS planned a controlled expansion into the Auckland housing market to take advantage of those growth opportunities in New Zealand's largest market, he said.

Meanwhile, the Christchurch rebuild continued to be a dominant theme for the business, Smith added.

The Canterbury market had become highly competitive and Alec Neill had been appointed SBS's Christchurch-based director.

The bank had reaffirmed its commitment to helping the city rebuild and had handed out more than $150,000 to 74 community groups and was the major sponsor of the region's rugby football union.

The increase in operating surplus, growth in capital and liquidity and winning the Financial Institution of the Year award had all been highlights of the past year, Smith said.

"An ongoing focus on the needs of our members has allowed SBS to again report a sold profit against a difficult global and domestic economic background.

''Securing the Financial Institution of the Year award for the second year in a row really shows how we can compete against the bigger banks and is a reflection of the empathy our staff have towards our customers,'' he said.

SBS Bank general manager finance Tim Loan said the operating surplus stripped out adjustments and was the trading result of the bank.

The bank recorded a $17.7 million operating surplus for the 2012 financial year.