Kiwibank has confirmed it is returning permanently to the hub of the Christchurch CBD. Chief Executive Paul Brock said the bank has signed a lease for a three-storey building to be located in Colombo Street. The building is expected to be completed and open for business in about 18 months.

Mr Brock said the new building is very close to where Kiwibank operated before the devastating earthquakes destroyed buildings in the area in 2011.

The new stand-alone building is being built at 664/668 Colombo Street by property investor Craig Nicholas. Mr Nicholas owned the building previously tenanted by Kiwibank before the quakes at 680 Colombo Street.

Mr Brock said the new building will provide full branch banking services, plus offices for a number of other bank and associated activities including business banking, mortgage services and Kiwi Wealth services (KiwiSaver and GMI).

Mr Brock said the flagship Kiwibank retail services will not operate from within a PostShop or franchise but will be a solely bank operation.

'Kiwibank has always intended moving back into the heart of Christchurch. It was a matter of finding the right building at the right location. This is a hugely exciting development for the bank, drawing together a wide range of banking and related services into a modern, strategically located building,' Mr Brock said.

Mr Nicholas has been involved in property investment in Christchurch for more than 35 years. He said the new completed complex (designed by David Hill from Wilson & Hill Architects and structurally engineered by Stephen Barrow of Lewis & Barrow - Consulting Engineers) once it is fully leased will have a value of around $14 million. It is expected that the plans will be lodged for Building Consent in the next three months. The contracted target completion date is 31 May 2017. The building will then be fitted out to accommodate Kiwibank and other businesses.

For further information: Bruce Thompson, Communications Manager (04) 460 6831