On reflection, Kiwibank’s arrival on the New Zealand financial services scene could not have been more exquisitely timed. Its outstanding performance in NZ Management’s first Most Reputable Organisation survey is, given banking industry events since 2008, therefore hardly surprising.
As the judges said at last year’s Deloitte/Management magazine Top 200 Awards in which the bank was an award finalist: “Kiwibank has stolen march on the established trading banks that have for so long dominated the New Zealand financial sector.”
But, as the bank’s successful and soon-to-leave chief executive Sam Knowles said in response to learning of Kiwibank’s ranking as New Zealand Most Reputable SOE: “Our strong reputation has been built on trust.
“We have not over-promised and we have delivered on what we have said,” he added. “We have challenged the established banks and made difference. That is what we said we would do.”
The survey respondents, it seems, agree. They rated the bank first for its “clear and compelling vision” and almost as strongly for its consistent delivery of customer promise and service and its strong and effective leadership.
Reputation is, says Knowles, critical in competitive market which the banking sector unquestionably is, the fiasco of the past couple of years notwithstanding.
In his opinion, the bank has quickly established “reputation for delivering on promises, being fair and being known for innovation which all helps differentiate Kiwibank from its competitors”.
According to Knowles, innovation drives the bank’s strategic approach. “Innovation is critical,” he says “whether it be through new products, new developments in IT or new ways to deliver service. Equally, focusing on our customers by always doing what we say we will and doing what is right, is critical.”
Knowles rates reputation-building strategies among the organisation’s key measures for success. “Reputation and trust are locked together,” he adds.
According to Knowles, great reputation delivers tangible outcomes. “It drives competitive advantage and encourages customers to consider their options and make critical decisions on which bank is right for them. Consequently, Kiwibank continues to attract more than 1500 new customers week,” he boasts.
“Perception can be intangible, but public perception of the bank as honourable, honest and trustworthy is solid gold.”
Again, as the Top 200 judges observed last year when they ranked the bank finalist in the Marsh Most Improved Performance Award: “Kiwibank is home-grown success story. Its huge customer uptake and popularity is the result of its professional approach to offering the right services and the right price.”
Acting professionally and delivering on what is promised apparently goes long way to building an organisation’s reputation. The perception that Kiwibank has been doing that is, it seems, obvious to other business leaders, particularly those who responded to the survey.


NZ Post Group
Brian Roche, CEO

“The New Zealand Post Group’s reputation delivers real benefits. We have some of New Zealand’s most-trusted brands including New Zealand Post itself, our PostShop retail network and Kiwibank. People readily relate to us and we are able to provide real value for our customers. good reputation is also key to attracting and retaining top-class people.”

Solid Energy
Don Elder, CEO

“Solid Energy has come long way in the last 10 years and part of that has been openly acknowledging that in the past we hadn’t always done the right thing in the way we carried out our mining activities.
“We’ve spent lot of time and effort addressing our environmental performance and our relationships with neighbours and other people in the communities.”

Genesis Energy
Albert Brantley, CEO

“The company’s reputation impacts its relationship with communities affected by our power station assets, our relationship with our many customers across New Zealand, with our local and international suppliers and with the many governmental organisations that we deal with. Reputation and standing in the community at large is impacted by everything we do.”

Meridian Energy
Tim Lusk, CEO

“I’m exceptionally proud of the culture the company has built over the years which is underpinned by set of values we call the Meridian Way. This is roadmap for our staff, how we achieve our vision to be global reference company for renewable energy.
“It has served us well from the very start and is touchstone inspiration for the innovative team work that has made us successful.”

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