ASB Bank, commonly stylised as ASB, is a bank owned by Commonwealth Bank, operating in New Zealand. It provides a variety of financial services including retail, business and rural banking, funds management, as well as insurance through its Sovereign arm, and investment and securities services through its ASB Group Investments and ASB Securities arms. ASB also operates BankDirect, a branchless banking service that provides service via phone, Internet, EFTPOS and ATMs only.
ASB began in 1847 as the Auckland Savings Bank. The first meeting was held in the store of Campbell and Brown, and was attended by 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.
ASB has had a long and successful relationship with Auckland branding design studio Sanders Design. Sanders Design have been instrumental in the evolution of the branding over the last 30 years including the current iteration of the brand. Sanders Design heave created a comprehensive signage manual which has been translated throughout the branches nationwide. In 2013, Sanders Design also designed the signage and way finding for the new head office ASB North Wharf. This was a finalist in the environmental graphics category in the NZ Best Design Awards
ASB has a reputation for innovation and embracing new technologies. The bank has won numerous 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.
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)
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
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 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.