Heartland director Gary Leech resigns to focus on City Care appointment

Heartland New Zealand director Gary Leech will retire from the lender’s board next month, after three years on the board including when the bank formed after the merger of Canterbury and Southern Cross building societies and Marac Finance.

Leech will retire from the Christchurch-based lender at its annual general meeting on Oct. 31 as he looks to focus on his recent appointment to the board of City Care, Heartland said in a statement. Leech was chair of the Canterbury Building Society before the merger to form the bank in 2011. Heartland has started a recruitment process to replace Leech.

The lender has been chasing acquisitions outside of traditional banking options to help grow earnings, and earlier this month it announce it had taken a 10 percent stake in HarMoney, the online peer-to-peer lending platform, while also investing a funding line for an undisclosed amount. In February it announced the acquisition of a reverse mortgage business from Seniors Money International for $87 million, while in July Motor Trade Finances turned down an offer from Heartland which would have added a loan book of some $438 million.

Shares of the company last traded at $1.01 and have gained 19 percent since the start of the year. The stock is rated an average of ‘hold’ based on three analysts surveyed by Reuters, with a median price target of 96 cents.

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