Business banker rolls sleeves up

21:42, Apr 08 2013
Southland Times photo
SBS Bank agribusiness and business banking general manager David Backhurst.

After 10 years away from Invercargill and with 32 years' banking experience, David Backhurst has returned to take the reins of SBS Bank's agribusiness and business banking arm.

Having started as general manager about six weeks ago Backhurst said it felt like he still had his training wheels on but he looked forward to the opportunities to come.

In the 1990s he was area manager at Trust Bank Southland across the road from where he is now in Don St, Invercargill, before moving on to become chief executive of Invest South.

For the past six years he has been a state manager for the health division of the National Australia Bank, the largest bank in Australia.

He dealt with healthcare clients and was the inaugural state manager for the bank's Queensland branch.

His previous roles in Invercargill touched on aspects of the agribusiness sector and he was excited to be working for SBS.

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"I have had a high level of respect and envy of the SBS brand dating back 25 years," he said.

"SBS was the major competitor . . . it's an absolutely fantastic brand," he said.

In the role he would lead an already successful and well- established agribusiness platform, as well as build a new business banking platform.

The business banking platform, expected to be launched in six to 12 months, would hopefully replicate the current model of the agribusiness platform, offering face-to-face communication with clients, he said.

"It is a small team but has a national footprint.

"They just pull their sleeves up, put their gumboots on and get out there in the local community," Backhurst said.

He would provide the tools and support necessary for bankers and develop a strategic roadmap for the business.

The challenges that lay ahead included the drought affecting the North Island and the dry spell in the south, he said.

"The drought is topical and it impacts our customers."

The Southland Times