Investing in their future

As WBS celebrates 150 years, we’re reflecting on some of the locals we’ve helped through their lives. Gareth and Jill Winter are a couple we’ve stood alongside as their needs changed over time, starting with a business loan, and further down the track, with their investment.

Wairarapa historian Gareth Winter has had a long relationship with WBS, having started out with a loan in the mid-1980s. He and his wife Jill were grateful that WBS helped with finance to purchase an established Masterton nursery when larger banks had refused.

“We were very lucky that our accountant suggested the Wairarapa Building Society may be able to help us,” he says.

“The difference between its attitude and that of the banks could not have been more marked. We met with one of the team who looked through the papers, and said he could not see any reason why they would not support us.”

This came after the first bank they approached with their business plan refused to even look at the documents. The second bank did look but declined to assist.

The venture was a success; the mortgage was paid off before it was due – despite interest rates of over 20% at the time – and Gareth and Jill Winter have since become investors rather than borrowers. They continue to save through WBS.

In 1997 the nursery was sold and Gareth took up the position of archivist at the Wairarapa Archive situated in the WBS building, a position he held until retirement in 2021.

“WBS was a great landlord, and very supportive of the work we were doing, helping both the Archive and the local branch of the New Zealand Genealogical Society by giving us a community-discounted lease. “

“We love the way WBS is a local institution, devoted to helping Wairarapa residents finance their homes and businesses. We benefitted from their help when we needed it. That’s why we continue to invest with WBS – it gives other Wairarapa residents the chance to get a leg-up on the home ownership ladder or start in business.”