ASB Bank Limited, commonly stylised as ASB, is a bank owned by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, operating in New Zealand. It provides a range of financial services including retail, business and rural banking, funds management, as well as insurance through its Sovereign Limited subsidiary, and investment and securities services through its ASB Group Investments and ASB Securities divisions. ASB also operated BankDirect, a branchless banking service that provides service via phone, Internet, EFTPOS and ATMs only.
|Founded||5 June 1847(as Auckland Savings Bank)|
|Vittoria Shortt, CEO|
|Revenue||NZ$1.607 billion (2011) |
|Total assets||NZ$63.5 billion (2012)|
Number of employees
|Parent||Commonwealth Bank of Australia|
ASB was established in 1847 as the Auckland Savings Bank. The first meeting was held in the store of Campbell and Brown, and was attended by John Logan Campbell, Dr John Johnson, Rev Thomas Buddle, John Jermyn Symonds, John MacDougall, David Graham (a brother of Robert Graham), Robert Appleyard Fitzgerald, Thomas Forsaith, John Israel Montefiore, James Dilworth, Alexander Kennedy, and William Smellie Graham.
During the 1980s the association of savings banks amalgamated the local savings banks throughout New Zealand with ASB at their head, and adopted the name, ASB Trust Bank. In 1986, ASB withdrew from the Trust Bank and in 1987 became a full-fledged commercial bank under the name, ASB Bank. In 1988, the Government passed the Trustee Banks Restructuring Act, which enabled ASB to become a public company. In 1989, the owner of the bank, ASB Community Trust, sold 75% of the shares to Commonwealth Bank. In 1994, ASB purchased and amalgamated Westland Bank, another former savings bank, located on the South Island's west coast, which enabled it to operate on a truly national basis. In 1999, ASB Group acquired Sovereign Limited, a life insurance company, and the retail stockbroking and fixed income operations of Warburg Dillon Read. In 2000, Commonwealth Bank bought the remaining 25% of ASB's shares from the Trust. In 2005 the bank changed the ASB Bank brand to ASB to reflect the more integrated financial services provider that it had become.
In early July 2020, ASB announced that it would be closing nine branches while 25 branches would be moving to three day weeks due to a shift in demand for online services. The company will also hire 150 additional staff to provide specialist online support.
The bank has won awards including NetGuide Award for best financial services site in 2006 and 2007, TUANZ Innovation Award for Financial Service in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005, and recently Canstar's inaugural annual 'Best Online Banking Award' in 2012.
ASB launched pago in November 2006, which is an electronic payment service that allows anyone with a New Zealand bank account to send cleared funds via mobile phone or the internet to another person or participating retailer in real-time. The technology has not succeeded in the way ASB hoped, with very little use and virtually no significant updates since 2010. ASB Securities, launched in 1999, remains the largest online broker in New Zealand in terms of trading volume and active customers. 
The bank has found significant success by being the first to introduce innovative services and features to the New Zealand market. ASB was the first bank in New Zealand to offer:
- internet banking (FastNet Classic in 1997)
- branches open seven days a week (1998)
- online share trading on both the Australian and New Zealand share-markets (via ASB Securities in 1999)
- banking via mobile phones (ASB Mobile in 1999)
- the ability for customers to stop receiving their paper statements (2003)
- banking via PDAs and browser-based mobile banking (2006)
- automatic rounding of transactions where the difference is put into a savings account (Save the Change in 2010)
- Facebook friend payments via ASB Mobile iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps (2012)
- a dedicated real estate app for iOS (ASB Property Guide in 2012)
Advertising and sponsorshipEdit
ASB has become known for using well-known characters in its advertising. The bank had a series of highly successful, award-winning commercials with the Ira Goldstein character (played by American actor Steve Mellor), a bumbling American banker sent to New Zealand to find out "what makes that bank different". The ads were popular over an 11-year period. However, the campaign ended in 2010 as the bank moved to a new advertising agency from TBWA/Whybin.
In October 2011 the bank introduced the Experience ASB campaign with new advertising agency Droga5. The campaign featured voice overs by English actor Dame Judi Dench and allowed potential customers to "test drive" the bank before joining.
In July 2012 ASB left Droga5 for Saatchi & Saatchi. In February 2013 ASB launched a new advertising campaign featuring Brian Blessed playing a fictionalised version of himself encouraging New Zealanders to be proud of their achievements whether big or small.
The bank also supports the ASB Community Trust, which was formed in 1988 with an endowment from the sale of ASB to Australia's Commonwealth Bank. The Trust has distributed more than $745 million since 1988, mostly giving grants to the arts, sport, recreation, environment, heritage, health and social services areas, as well as funding capital projects in local communities around New Zealand.
ASB is the corporate sponsor for a number of high-profile New Zealand organisations and events such as:
- Coastguard New Zealand
- St John New Zealand
- Starship Foundation
- New Zealand Football - including the ASB Premiership, ASB Chatham Cup, ASB National Woman's League, ASB Woman's Knockout Cup and the ASB National Youth League.
- Tennis - including the ASB Classic, Auckland Tennis, Canterbury Tennis and Tennis South Canterbury.
- ASB Gardens Magic - A series of summer concerts held in Wellington.
- ASB Classical Sparks - An annual concert in Christchurch's Hagley Park which attracts an audience of over 120,000.
- ASB Polyfest - A four-day event in Auckland featuring over 9,000 student performers celebrating the culture of the Pacific and attracting an audience of over 90,000.
The bank is also a major sponsor of several event venues in New Zealand:
- ASB Showgrounds
- ASB Stadium
- ASB Tennis Centre
- ASB Stand and ASB Lounge at Eden Park
- Founding sponsor of North Harbour Stadium
- ASB Foyer at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre
- ASB Theatre at Aotea Centre
- ASB Atrium and ASB Careers Centre at the University of Auckland's Owen G. Glenn Building, home of the university's Business School.
- "ASB announces Vittoria Shortt as new Chief Executive". ASB Bank. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
- "ASB Annual Report 2011" (PDF). Asb.co.nz. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- "ASB Sustainability Report 2012" (PDF). Asb.co.nz. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
- Scholefield, Guy, ed. (1940). A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography : A–L (PDF). Vol. I. Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs. p. 259. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- Reed, A. W. (1955). Auckland, the city of the seas. Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed. p. 80.
- "Nine ASB branches to close, 25 others to have opening hours slashed". Radio New Zealand. 1 July 2020. Archived from the original on 1 July 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- Burrows, Matt (1 July 2020). "ASB Bank closing nine branches in New Zealand's main centres". Newshub. Archived from the original on 1 July 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- Crossley, Jazial (6 June 2012). "ASB wins best online bank award". Stuff. Archived from the original on 10 November 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "About pago". Pago.co.nz. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "ASB Securities Review - What You Need to Know". moneyhub.co.nz. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
- "ASB farewells Goldstein as 11-year ad campaign ends". The New Zealand Herald. 21 September 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Dame Judi Dench stars in new fully integrated 'Experience ASB' campaign via Droga5". Campaignbrief.co.nz. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "Shock for Droga5 in NZ as founding client ASB makes switch to Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand". Campaignbrief.co.nz. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "Who is Brian Blessed?". Blog.asb.co.nz. Archived from the original on 19 February 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "About ASB Community Trust". Asbcommunitytrust.org.nz. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "ASB Bank - Sports Sponsorship". Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "ASB Bank - Arts". Asb.co.nz. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- ASB Showgrounds