Formation of PSIS

In April 1928 the PSA Journal reported that the Association had decided to start a 'money club' to offer ‘a helping hand in times of emergency’, and in June of that year the Public Service Investment Society (PSIS) was registered.

Alfred Burgess, the incoming PSA president, was its first chairman and membership was only available to PSA members. As a co-operative, ownership of the PSIS was vested in its members. The PSA president and a member of the executive were members of the PSIS Board, and other Board members had to be PSA members. Over time members of other public sector unions were allowed to join, including railway officers, Post Office workers and teachers, and other unions were represented on the Board.

The PSIS was established to assist poorly paid public servants and went on to become the most important welfare activity of the Association, offering members competitive loans and rescuing many from loan sharks during the depression. PSIS also made loans to women long before other financial organisations. It offered incentives to save by paying higher interest rates than banks and profits were distributed to members through an annual dividend.  From 1945 onwards membership grew rapidly and services broadened to include such things as retail and travel.

Sources: Bert Roth, Remedy for Present Evils: A history of the New Zealand Public Service Association from 1890, New Zealand Public Service Association, 1987 and Gordon Boyce, Over half a million careful owners: A 75 year history of PSIS, 1928-2003, Dunmore Publishing, 2005

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