Eastern & Central Community Trust gives grants and support to community organisations operating in the Gisborne Tairawhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Tararua, Manawatu, Horowhenua and Wairarapa districts.
The origins of Eastern & Central Community Trust stem from the regional trustee savings banks established under the Trustee Savings Bank Act of 1948. Hawke’s Bay Savings Bank was established in 1962, the Manawatu Wairarapa Savings Bank was established in 1963, and in 1964 Hawke’s Bay Savings Bank changed its name to Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne Savings Bank to better reflect the region it served.
In 1973, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne Savings Bank merged with the Manawatu Wairarapa Savings Bank, to form Eastern & Central Savings Bank. In 1984, the 12 regional savings banks adopted the “Trustee Bank” name, and Eastern & Central Trustee Bank was formed. This changed two years later to become Trust Bank Eastern & Central.
In 1988 Trust Bank Eastern and Central Community Trust was created when New Zealand’s banking industry was deregulated by the Government, and it was given ownership of the bank, for the community. The Trust was given shares in the Trust Bank Group to the value of $11.8 million to hold for the benefit of the communities within a defined region.
The Trust was renamed Eastern and Central Community Trust Inc. in 1996, when the Trust Bank Group was sold to Westpac Banking Corporation for $1.2 billion, of which the Trust received $109 million as its share of the proceeds. The starting capital of the Trust was set at $91 million, with $19 million set aside as capital reserves. Funds were invested in diversified range of asset classes in New Zealand and overseas. Over the years the Trust has increased its capital to $149 million, and it is the returns from those investments that enable the Trust to give grants to its communities.
Eastern & Central Community Trust is the eighth largest of the twelve Community Trusts set up under this process, and regularly donates over $5 million in grants throughout its region.