Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 27, September 1983
(In 1982 the National Bank, Paeroa, moved into its new extended building thus continuing the Bank's progress in Paeroa.)
The National Bank of New, Zealand came to Paeroa on October 5, 1895 and since that day has gradually expanded along with the district over the intervening 87 years. The Bank first opened in temporary premises in Crosbie's Hotel, which is now that site of the R.S.A. Club in the main street. Almost immediately after opening, a section and building was purchased more to the centre of the business area of the town, this presumably would be in the block around the War Memorial Hall.
The Bank Manager of the day, Mr. J.R. McNaughton in his first report March 31, 1896, stated that a melting house had been erected on the new site so that assaying of gold and silver could be undertaken. Fixed deposits at the end of the first 6 months amounted to 760 pounds, while the current accounts totalled 2,700 pounds 13 Shillings & 11 pence. Mr. McNaughton noted several mining companies had used the bank's Auckland branch, and they were directing more business through the new branch.
Mid-April, 1896, the Bank moved into its first permanent premises "in the business end of the town and immediately found that the change was decidedly beneficial from every point of view" according to Mr. McNaughton's report on September 30, 1896.
At that stage there was only one other bank in Paeroa.
There were 148 accounts held at the bank including 14 on behalf of mining companies and during the previous 6 months there had been 77 new accounts opened. The Bank operated on the site for the next 14 years and then owing to increasing patronage, it was decided to move again. During the 3 months ending September, 30, 1909, the Manager, N.T. Inglis reports: "new premises had been acquired at the cost of £670. It is really the best business site in Paeroa and will always be worth the money we gave for it. The building is at present leased by a draper whose lease expires in January. He pays a rental of 30 shillings p.wk."
Early in 1910 tenders were let for a new building to be constructed on the corner of Mackay Street and Normanby Road, where the present building is now situated. The new premises were opened for business on July 16, 1910, and the total cost: £844. The old Bank building was sold to Mr. A.A. Preece for £175.
In this year also an agency opened at Karangahake, this being open on Mondays only. The agency opening was November 4, 1910 and 11 days later it was destroyed by fire, which swept through from an adjoining building. When the new bank building opened the bank deposits were £12,286. This new wooden bank building remained in use until 1969 when it was dismantled and made way for a new building of concrete construction.
Early in 1914 the Bank opened its own refinery on a site purchased for £200. This was in the building next to the Gazette Office in Willoughby Street. By September 1915 the refinery had purchased and treated 230,000 ounces of ore bullion valued at ₤236,043, and the plant was operated until March 1931 - there was no further prospects of the revival of gold production in the area.
A Manager's report for March 31, 1931, refers to agencies of the bank at Ngatea and Kerepehi. The Kerepehi agency was in a new building erected at a cost of £334 in 1928 and the Ngatea agency was opened in March 1929.