Members of the Hastings Building Society (HBS) have agreed in favor of the proposed merger with New Zealand-based customer-owned community bank SBS Bank.

Under the merger agreement, HBS total staff and management will be retained along with the HBS brand. There will also be a guaranteed $100,000 per year distributed to the community through sponsorships.

SBS bank is planning to upgrade the existing branches and open new branch in Havelock North over the coming year.

Following the merger, HBS members will become members of SBS Bank.

HBS board chairman Frank Spencer will take a newly created position at SBS Bank board, as a result of the merger. However, Spencer’s appointment is subject to regulatory review by the Reserve Bank.

The merger is expected to be effective in early October. However, the process of transferring registration to SBS Bank rests with Registrar of Building Societies.

HBS will continue operations as usual for local members and the staff at its branches in Hastings and Napier.