SBS group continues its growth

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SBS Bank is 148 years old and still going strong.

SBS and subsidiary Finance Now Ltd have conditionally purchased The Warehouse Group Financial Services.

SBS Bank’s communications manager Grace Frisby said the sale was expected to be completed within the next few weeks. The sale expanded on an already existing relationship between The Warehouse and the SBS Banking Group.

However, the purchase did not include Diners Club New Zealand, she said.

The bank finished the 2017 financial year on June 30 with an operating surplus of $36.8 million, up 33% from the previous year’s surplus of $27.7m.

At SBS’s 148th annual meeting held at the Kelvin Hotel last month, SBS Bank chief executive Shaun Drylie said future steps for the company would include improvements to online banking options, targeting younger customers, and a gradual whittling back of more traditional forms of banking such as the use of cheque books.

Mr Drylie said the hours of operation for the company’s telephone inquiries service would also be increased within the year. The Invercargill-based call centre would be opening earlier and closing later.

SBS board chairman John Ward said annual fees for directors on the board could also be increased by as much as $50,000 for the financial year ending March 2018.

Mrs Frisby said this amount would be spread across all eight directors.

The proposed fees increase, which Mr Ward said “may or may not” go ahead this year, was also signalled at the annual meeting, which was attended by about 75 people.

Mr Ward said the board had been criticised in the past for increasing its fees and he was notifying the public purely from a transparency perspective.

Directors’ fees would be discussed later in the year, he said.

Although the directors’ salaries might already look like a lot of money to people earning an average wage, there had recently been “a substantial lift of expectation for board members”, he said.

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