Kiwibank sets future direction as it celebrates 20 years of making Kiwi better off


Twenty years after Kiwibank opened for business and the first Kiwibank accounts were opened, chief executive Steve Jurkovich said the New Zealand-owned bank had more than delivered on its purpose of making Kiwi better off and was strongly positioned to have an even bigger impact in the future.

“Kiwibank’s growth in two short decades is remarkable. Over one million customers have joined us because they want to bank with a New Zealand-owned bank where 100% of our profits stay right here in Aotearoa.

“Today, we’re the largest New Zealand-owned bank. We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of Kiwi into homes and tens of thousands of businesses to grow and thrive. This includes supporting iconic, purpose driven brands like Fix & Fogg go global and high-growth companies like Sharesies become a substantial market player.”

“Our impact on Aotearoa has been equally important with highlights being our longstanding sponsorship of New Zealander of the Year - Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa and our investment in helping Kiwi to be financially secure through our partnerships with Banqer, Ngā Tāngata, The Ākina Foundation, and Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa.”

“It’s been an absolute privilege to lead Kiwibank through the past three years but there are many thousands of Kiwibankers, past and present, who can be incredibly proud of the role they have played to get us to where we are today.”

Mr Jurkovich said he was hugely excited about Kiwibank’s ambitious plans for the future and the investment it was making to become the bank of choice of even more Kiwi.

“Aotearoa has changed. We’ve become a modern, progressive, and richly diverse country that demonstrates world-class innovation, agility and inclusiveness. The way that we consume media, shop, communicate, do business, and bank has changed phenomenally.

“Kiwibank is changing too. We’re two years into a five-year transformation that will enable us to help our people and customers to grow and thrive like never before. We’re delivering on this through our strategy that balances purpose and performance to achieve even greater growth while making Kiwi and Aotearoa better off.”

New brand identity revealed that signals intent for the future

Mr Jurkovich also revealed a new look for the bank to mark where the bank has come from and signal its intent for the future.

“A brand is a precious asset and lets people know who we are, what we stand for and what we care about. What was current and relevant 20 years ago needs to be treasured but it also needs to evolve. As we come of age it is a great time to reflect on who we want to be into the future.

“The design of our new identity and logo is inspired by the concept of a thriving Aotearoa and is expressed through the native harakeke plant. In te ao Māori, pā harakeke symbolise a thriving whānau and community. The outer leaves are the tūpuna, our ancestors, representing knowledge and wisdom. The inner leaves, the mātua or parents protect and nurture the central new shoots, being the tamariki or children – the next generation and our future.

“We see it as a strong expression of our brand promise and a reflection of our strong past and ambitious future ahead.

“It’s exciting times for Kiwibank and we hope New Zealanders are excited too about what the future holds for us and our ambition for the next 20 years,” Mr Jurkovich says.

Find out more and watch our videos on how we're celebrating.

Key Kiwibank statistics/achievements

  • Kiwibank was the brainchild of politician Jim Anderton, who wanted a locally owned, locally run bank that would operate in the interest of New Zealanders, with profits staying in the country rather than heading offshore.
  • The Kiwibank Treasurer was given $65m to start the bank. He invested it in fixed interest securities (bonds and bank bills mainly) until the bank was ready to accept deposits and grant loans. It grew very quickly for the first few years as more products were added to its offering. Growth is much steadier now. By the end of year five, the balance sheet was $4.7b. Fast forward to 2022 and Kiwibank has grown to $30b, $27b of which is lending to retail and business clients.
  • From a few people in a room 20 years ago, Kiwibank now employs over 2,400 people.
  • Kiwibank launched business banking in 2005 and now has over 48,000 business banking customers.
  • In July 2020 it released its Responsible Business Banking Policy, becoming the first bank in New Zealand to have a public policy committing to not bank sectors that cause social and environmental harm.
  • Kiwibank is Rainbow Tick accredited and was the first bank in New Zealand to get the Gender Tick demonstrating its commitment to gender equality in the workplace. It is also a Living Wage Employer.
  • In 2021 Kiwibank achieved B Corp certification which requires it to be measured against high global standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.


Progressive leader and Minister for Economic Development Hon Jim Anderton in his 2011 valedictory speech revealed:

“And as far as Kiwibank is concerned, I will always remember Annette King’s contribution at a particularly vital final Cabinet policy committee meeting, which I have never disclosed... After months of exhaustive advocacy by me of the New Zealand Post business case for the bank—I had to knock down every objection, and they were multitudinous, one by one—Annette King finally turned to Michael Cullen, after three hours of this, and said these immortal words: “Michael, Jim’s beaten back every argument against the bank we’ve ever put up—for God’s sake give him the bloody bank!”. And Michael Cullen, in equally immortal words, said: “Oh, all right then!”

Excerpt from Michael Cullen’s book Labour Saving: A Memoir by Sir Michael Cullen, published by Allen & Unwin NZ

“Kiwibank proved its real worth to New Zealand in the early stages of the global financial crisis. The Australian banks withdrew substantially from the New Zealand mortgage market. Kiwibank stepped into the breach. Despite its very small size compared with the Aussies it was for a year or two the largest provider of new mortgages in New Zealand. It is noticeable how, since Kiwibank was set up, the Australian banks have emphasised their New Zealand character in their advertising. But when the crunch comes, one should never be fooled about where their primary accountability will lie.”

Founding staff member Malia Tu’ulima, who is still working at Kiwibank albeit in a different role.

“I started in the call centre and took the third call. I still remember it was Glennis from Palmerston North. Of course, Palmerston North was where our first branch was opened.”