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Combined building society fully operational


Thursday 6th January 2011

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Combined Building Society, which is to primarily operate the merged businesses of Canterbury Building Society (CBS), Southern Cross Building Society (SCBS) and Marac Finance, is now fully operational.

In an announcement today, merged group holding company Building Society Holdings (BSH) said all transfers were in place relating to the merger of CBS, SCBS and Marac.

Marac bonds, which were now bonds issued by Combined, were now quoted on the NZX debt market and able to be traded, BSH said.

The merger process was expected to be completed tomorrow, when shares in BSH were allotted. Formal listing of BSH and quotation of its shares was not expected until the end of the month.

Yesterday ratings agency Standard and Poor's confirmed its ratings on CBS and SCBS.

S&P also withdrew its "BB+/Stable/B" rating for CBS and "BB/Stable/B" for SCBS, at the societies' request, in preparation for them to be folded into the $2.2 billion merged entity.

Also yesterday, participation in the Crown's extended retail deposit guarantee scheme was approved for Combined Building Society.

The extended guarantee will cover $1.67b of retail funding -- retail deposits at CBS and SCBS and stock and bonds at Marac -- until the end of this year. It insures deposits and debt securities issued by up to $250,000 per retail depositor.

The ultimate intention of the merger parties is for Combined Building Society to become a registered bank, for which it will have to meet Reserve Bank registration requirements.

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