The vision of NBS aligns nicely with our school because they’re all about supporting the local community. NBS will send people along to help out at our gala days. They give us free use of their community van, which has done thousands of kilometres ferrying our kids to sports events. We use NBS marquees at key events, and they even sponsor our top scholars each year to the value of $2500.
They talk about being a key player in the community, and they really put their money where their mouth is and roll their sleeves up. The bigger banks are very transactional, purely business and profit focused. There’s no recognition that schools are community-based organisations.
I got to know NBS when I was Principal at Motueka High School, before Waimea College. We were with one of the bigger banks and put out a tender for banking services. We were really impressed with NBS. They had sharp rates and absolutely nailed the people part of it. We were a community organisation dealing with another community organisation, rather than dealing with a big foreign owned bank. We built a cultural centre as a space for our Māori and Pasifika students, and NBS contributed to the build.
As a school, we have large sums that come in the form of quarterly operational grants from the Ministry of Education. We want really good interest rates for our deposits. I have a financial background, so I look at these things closely. NBS has always had the sharpest interest rates.
At Waimea College, we had a different banking provider and again ran a tender for banking services. It was a board decision and NBS came out on top. They were the very clear leader, with the best interest rates and the best service.
One of the really neat things is that we know the staff personally. Instead of dialling an 0800 number, you can call them directly on their cell phone, without ten minutes of verification, trying to remember all your usernames, passwords, maiden name and so on. I phone our banker and he knows it is me straight away. It takes the friction right out of the equation. It’s like old school banking and it’s priceless in my view.