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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]



The five banks in operation in New Zealand have branch offices in Napier, and the buildings occupied by them are among the finest in the town. The establishment of the first banking house in Hawke's Bay dates back to 1858. On January 9th of that year the “Hawke's Bay Herald,” in a leading article, strongly advocated the establishment of a branch bank in Napier, and on the 4th of the following September it congratulated the settlers upon the arrival of Mr. Brathwaite, manager of the future branch of the Union Bank. This institution opened its doors to the public on the 1st of October, in Emerson Street. The Bank of New Zealand established its branch office in Napier on the 2nd of April, 1862.

Some figures relative to banking operations in New Zealand may prove of interest. For the quarter ended December 31st, 1906, the total deposits amounted to £22,202,640; of this, £2,108,841 represented the Government deposit; £10,250,540 was at call, and £9,843,259 was bearing interest. The total liabilities of the banks amounted to £23,972,561, and the excess of assets over liabilities was £1,368,438. For the same period the value of the notes in circulation was £1,611,220, and the coin and bullion held by the banks amounted to £4,696,758. The returns of the Post Office Savings Bank for the year 1906 reflect the general prosperous and well-to-do condition of the community. The deposits for the year were £7,907,153, and the withdrawals, £6,907,103. The excesses of deposits over withdrawals for the past three years were: £171,770 in 1904, £641,589 in 1905, and £1,000,050 in 1906. There are other Savings Banks in the colony in addition to the Post Office institution, notably one at Auckland, which does a larger business than the Government office in the northern city.

The Bank Of New South Wales has its head-quarters in Sydney, where it was established in the year 1817. The head office for New Zealand is on Lambton Quay, Wellington, and the branch office in Napier is a handsome building occupying a central position in Hastings Street. Mr. A. Stedman is the local manager.

The Bank Of Australasia at Napier, which occupies a site in Hastings Street, near the corner of Emerson Street, was opened in 1874. Mr. H. S. St. Paul is manager at Napier, and the Waipawa agency is under the charge of Mr. G. E. Haggitt.

The Union Bank Of Australia, Napier, occupies a corner site in Hastings Street, at the intersection of Emerson Street. This Bank has its head office in London, and the chief office for New Zealand is at Wellington. On page 283 of this volume an illustration of the Napier branch office appears. Mr. David Stewart, who formerly had charge of the Dunedin office, is manager at Napier.

The Bank Of New Zealand, Napier, occupies a prominent corner in Hastings Street, being separated from the Post Office by Browning Street. The building presents a good appearance, its interior being particularly handsome. The manager, Mr. John Snodgrass, is assisted by a large staff.

The National Bank Of New Zealand, Napier, is situated at the corner of Hastings Street and Emerson Street. It was opened in the year 1874 by Mr. Glegg, and for the past eighteen years has been managed by Mr. James McLean, who is assisted by a staff of five.

page 370

Mr. James McLean, Manager of the Napier branch of the National Bank of New Zealand, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., in the year 1855, and was educated in Scotland. After a short experience in a legal office, Mr. McLean came to New Zealand in 1873, by the ship “Jessie Readman,” and joined the National Bank at Dunedin. A few years later he was promoted to be accountant at Invercargill, was afterwards stationed at Tapanui for three years, and was then appointed to the Wanganui branch, where he remained for about six years. Mr. McLean received his present appointment in 1888. He is an ex-president of the Napier Athenacum, and for several years was treasurer of the since-defunct Caledonian Society. Mr. McLean married Miss Excell, a Melbourne lady, in 1884, and has two daughters.