our history- celebrating 150 years


23 March. Southland Building, Land and Investment Society formed.


Southland Building, Land and Investment Society changes its name to Southland Building and Investment Society and Bank of Deposit after the passing of the Building Societies Act 1876.


SBS celebrates 25 years.


The first premises specifically built for SBS is opened.


The Directors of the Southland Building and Investment Society and Bank of Deposit decided to buy a bicycle at a cost of £12/10/-.


SBS celebrates 50 years. It had lent and re-lent nearly £1.2million.


SBS announced at its AGM that the Society could claim to have emerged from the economic blizzard of difficulties and uncertainties not only unimpaired but strengthened.


SBS is the biggest of its kind in New Zealand with mortgages totaling £1.8 million – six times the amount of the next largest Society.


SBS celebrates 75 years.


Business in 1944 – 1945 is the second largest year in the history of SBS.


Hugh Ritchie becomes the 6th Chairman of SBS (1947 – 1972).


SBS opens a branch in Gore.


SBS celebrates 100 years.


SBS Director, Hugh Ritchie dies after 67 years of service.


The Society’s operating surplus tops $1 million for the first time.


January brings serious flooding in Invercargill. More than $1 million of SBS’ reserves go out in mortgage finance directly related to flood victims and their properties.


The Society opens its Windsor branch in North Invercargill.


The Society passes $200 million in total assets. The Society’s reserves top $10 million in the same year.

1987 - 1988

The Society opens its first branches in Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.


SBS members vote against the sale of SBS to Westpac.


Ross Smith becomes the Chief Executive of SBS and the organisation moves into 51 Don Street.


SBS celebrates 125 years and names Acton Smith as its Chairman.


The Southland Building and Investment Society re-brands to be known as SBS.


SBS’ first subsidiary company, Finance Now Ltd, is launched.


SBS opens its Invercargill based Contact Centre and expands to the North Island by opening a branch in Hamilton.

2001 – 2002

SBS opens its second and third branches in Christchurch.


Full transactional banking and SBS website launched.
FANZ and Southsure are launched as SBS subsidiaries.


SBS opens branches in Cromwell and Timaru.


SBS opens branches in Blenheim, Tauranga and its fourth branch in Christchurch (Ferrymead).


SBS achieves bank registration on October 7, making history by becoming the first building Society in the world to also become a registered bank. SBS total assets reach $2.43 billion.


SBS Bank turns 140.


Hastings Building Society (HBS) members vote 98% in favour of a merger with SBS Bank. The merger takes effect on 1 October 2010 with SBS products and services offered to Hawke's Bay customers under the HBS Bank brand.


HBS Bank opens a branch in Havelock North.


Funds given back to non-profit organisations through SBS Bank’s Star banking package reaches $500,000

SBS Bank named Financial Institution of the Year at the 2011 Roy Morgan Research Customer Satisfaction Awards.

Acton Smith steps down as SBS Bank Chairman after 18 years in the position.

John Ward is announced as new SBS Bank Chairman.


SBS Bank named Financial Institution of the Year at the 2012 Roy Morgan Research Customer Satisfaction Awards.


Ross Smith retires as SBS Bank CEO after nearly 22 years in the position.

Wayne Evans is announced as new Group Chief Executive.

SBS Bank and HBS Bank branches unify under the SBS Bank brand

SBS Group Chief Executive, Wayne Evans sadly passes away in January 2016 at the age of 49.

Shaun Drylie commences as the new SBS Group Chief Executive in August.

James Walker Bain


(1869 - 1899)
It was Bain who wanted the Society to be based on the principle of mutual help among its members rather than cutthroat competition for loan money. He wanted to help every person own their own home


Tay Street

The first premises built specifically for the Society in Tay Street and occupied from 1896 to 1925. 

100 Years


Hugh Ritchie

(1947 - 1972)

"With long experience and full enquiries into the working of building societies overseas, I can say with confidence that our Society could be put up as a model for providing funds for home purposes. It is a self-contained institution, which has stood the test of 95 years’ operation with increasing usefulness to the community and lends mortgage money at perhaps the cheapest rate in the Dominion."


Southland Building and Investment Society
125 Years
SBS Bank


News rip

The Southland Building Society has won a long sought-after banking registration, ironically at a time when Northern Hemisphere banks are collapsing or receiving government bailouts.  

SBS Bank



A copy of the current Southland Building Society (SBS Bank) Disclosure Statement along with our Term Investment Terms & Conditions and QFE Adviser Disclosure Statement are available on request and free of charge from any branch or agency of SBS Bank or on this website
© Southland Building Society, 2016