Bank's new boss visits Blenheim
The new chief executive of the Co-operative Bank was in Blenheim to meet customers and staff yesterday.
Bruce McLachlan was appointed chief executive of the bank, formerly PSIS, in June.
At 49, he has had a 30-year career in finance, and joined the Co-operative Bank after more than 10 years with Westpac New Zealand.
PSIS was founded in 1928, and changed its name when it attained banking status a year ago.
Mr McLachlan said the push for banking status was spurred by a demand for greater security by New Zealand depositors.
The Co-operative Bank has 32 branches throughout the country, offering personal and small business banking services. It would never be a large-scale lender, Mr McLachlan said.
He believed that the concept of the Co-operative Bank, owned and controlled by its customers, appealed to people with a certain attitude rather than demographics made up of wage bracket, age, gender or ethnicity.
"People love the thought of a New Zealand bank being owned and controlled by its customers, rather than paying overseas investors."
While the big Australian-owned banks had an important role to play in big business, people were becoming more aware of the importance of keeping profits in New Zealand, he said.
However, he did not believe many customers were leaving the National Bank because they were unhappy with the ANZ merger.
Many people would be tied to fixed mortgages and term deposits and would be weighing up customer service, reliability, accessibility and competitive interest rates before they decided to switch banks, he said.
"I think it's probably been over-stated how many people will rush out the door . . . but ANZ have also underestimated how important that black horse is to their customers.
"From what I've observed, people are certainly looking at what else is on offer . . . but it will take more than a colour change to make people switch."
- The Marlborough Express
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