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Scott Wishart

Managing Director and Co-Founder of NZAB
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Reflections on 5 years in business. What have I learned?

Dec 24, 2021 8:22:18 AM / by Scott Wishart posted in Debt, Action, Planning, Budget, Banking, Strategy, Graduate

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As we round out the year, I want to thank all of our clients and industry professionals that we deal with for your support this year.

Next year marks 5 years of NZAB. A tremendous milestone and one we are hugely proud of. 

As is natural at this time of year, I’m feeling a bit reflective so wanted to close the year out with a few of my own thoughts after 5 years of business ownership and leadership. 

Panic slowly

I heard this phrase the other day and it resonates with me. It was in the context of environmental regulation and changes that we will be required to make over the coming years. 

How I interpret this is that the key thing we can do is develop a mindset that is accepting that things will need to change, be open to all possible solutions, but be careful and deliberate with implementing them. Don’t rush, don’t react, but don’t ignore. When the time comes, execute carefully. But make sure you execute!

Head space

This ones personal for me. The old grey matter has been pushed to the limit this year, and for the first time I put up the white flag and asked for help. I also took some time off and deleted my emails off my phone. It was only for two weeks, but the difference it made was unreal. I had burned out. 

What I’ve learned is that you can be a leader and still need time off. You can be highly engaged in what you’re doing and still need time off. You can be in the middle of some really complicated problems and still need time off. You can put your hand up and ask for help and people don’t think less of you. Ironically I’ve found it really powerful and I’ve made more progress since as a result. 

People are everything

As many of us are finding, getting staff is more and more challenging. It makes you realise what good staff can do and how hard it is to run a business without them. Invest in the good ones, don’t take them for granted, and find ways to empower them. In my experience it’s not always about the pay, but how you can engage them in the vision of your business and show them how they can be part of it. 

Get closer to your customers

As farmers we’ve been lucky to have our products sold through large meat or milk companies. They’ve worked to create markets of customers for us and that has allowed us to grow. But we have to really listen now to understand what our actual end consumers want. A lot of the changes being asked of us are driven by customer demand. Ask yourself what would your consumers think if they had to come to you and buy direct? Why should they buy from you and not from someone else? What improvements would they like you to make to your product? What farm practices would they not like? 

Protect your brand

Your brand is everything. We’ve probably all learned this to some extent while dealing with banks over the last few years. Your ability to access funding is often more about your brand than your financials. 

If things are going well right now due to increased cashflow, don’t sway out of your lane too far. Stick to your plan. Stick to your strategy. If the strategy needs to change, then be deliberate about it. Make a plan and get buy in before executing. What you do now when the spotlight is off you will be analysed in great detail the next time things get hard. 

But most importantly

Enjoy the journey! I seem to have to learn this one over and over again, but find the fun along the way. The kids are only young once. There will always be things that are urgent. You’ll always be under pressure to succeed. Even if that pressure only comes from within. My dad worked his arse off to build a business that would allow him to have more time later. He dropped dead in the paddock. The plan wasn’t complete. 

To our readers, thanks for your regular feedback. We love getting your thoughts and insights. We also appreciate all of you that forward our emails on and encourage more people to sign up. 

Have a great Christmas, and see you out there next year!

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Our Investment in Growth Continues

Nov 9, 2021 9:59:11 AM / by Scott Wishart posted in Debt, Action, Planning, Budget, Banking, Strategy, Graduate

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It has been a busy couple of months for NZAB! Our strategy of continuing to invest in hiring the best people and being accountable to our customers is continuing to pay off.

I'd like to introduce three new staff to our business and one internal promotion. We've also successfully concluded our first graduate programme intake and hired our first graduate who starts next year (more about that in a future email).

Cameron Black has relocated from our Christchurch office to Invercargill and has been promoted to Client Director. We are really proud of Cam, he was our first employee and has very much been a core part of our growth to date. It has always been a goal of his to get to a point where he could head back home to Southland and build a long term career helping farmers be successful. We can't wait to see what he achieves in this next phase!

Alongside Cam, we have also been joined by Jennifer Horn and Anna Case who have joined NZAB as Associate Client Directors to support Michael, Grant and Cam.

Southland has always been an important focus area for us, so it is really exciting to now have a team of five on the ground in Invercargill!

Additionally, we have been joined in Christchurch by James Schrader as an Associate Client Director supporting Nathan, Nick, Cam Blain and Jordain.

Scroll down to learn a bit about our new team members.

NZAB is now a team of 22. That's something we are pretty proud of. Thankyou to our customers for giving us the right to exist and grow alongside you.

Here's to the journey ahead!

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The NZAB Graduate Programme

Oct 3, 2021 9:10:31 PM / by Scott Wishart posted in Debt, Action, Planning, Budget, Banking, Strategy, Graduate

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The NZAB Growth Story Continues

Jul 29, 2021 8:06:47 PM / by Scott Wishart posted in Debt, Action, Planning, Budget, Banking, Strategy

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We're rapt to announce that Jordain Adams has joined our Canterbury team alongside Nathan, Nick, Cam and Cameron. We've been able to work alongside Jordain in her previous role with a local corporate Agri-banking team and her work ethic and style really impressed us, so we are delighted she has chosen to join our team for the next stage of her career. Read below for a bit of Jordain's background.

Jordain joins Charlotte, Grant and Cam Blain in filling new roles created this year so far to meet the increasing demand for our services.

It's an exciting time for our company as our customers are really seeing the financial benefits of the hard work and careful planning that has been central to our strategy over the last few years. It gives us confidence to continue to invest in our people, our technology platform and our customers to ensure that we remain the leaders in our field. 

We're still on the hunt for more of the best people. We are creating roles across New Zealand and would love to talk to more likeminded professionals who want to know more about what we do and why it makes a difference.

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We're Thrilled to Announce Further Growth in our Canterbury Team

Apr 16, 2021 1:41:32 PM / by Scott Wishart posted in Debt, Action, Planning, Budget, Banking, Strategy

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It's not every day that you get to welcome one of New Zealand's most senior and respected Agribusiness Bankers to our team, which is why we’re absolutely delighted to have Cam Blain join NZAB as part of our Christchurch team.

I've known Cam personally for a long time and his genuine desire to help farmers grow their businesses has been clear to me and this makes him a perfect fit for our business.

Cam is our 18th team member. That's a milestone we are reflecting on proudly as a business. We started with a mission to help farmers take control of their finances in order to ensure they get what they deserve. The greatest litmus test of our success has been not just our growth, but that it has come almost exclusively from word of mouth and referrals from our customers.

The journey ahead looks exciting. It feels like we are just getting started. We're investing heavily in our offering to bring more value to our customers and insights to support their business objectives, so watch this space!

Thank you to all of our customers for your ongoing support. If any one in your wider network would like to talk to us about how we might help, please pass on our contact details or we would be happy to give them a call.    

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We're Looking Forward to Helping More Farmers Across NZ - Welcome to our Two New Client Directors

Feb 9, 2021 12:21:27 PM / by Scott Wishart posted in Debt, Action, Planning, Budget, Banking, Strategy

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We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome two new team members to NZAB, on the back of strong support from our growing customer base.

With the huge growth down in Southland being led by Michael McKenzie, we welcome Grant Dermody as Client Director to work alongside him, as an advisory lead.

Likewise in Palmerston North, Brendan’s team is expanding yet again and we’re delighted that Charlotte Grogan has agreed to join us, again in the position as Client Director.

We love working on behalf of our farmers to make them truly at the centre of their financing needs and give them the confidence and direction to grow and also the ability to sleep at night.

We’re up to 17 staff now, across NZ, and we’re not finished. We’re going to keep cherry picking the best people in banking and finance and unleash all their skills and experience into your camp, so farmers can truly get what they deserve from their banking relationship.

We very much appreciate all of our customers, both old and new.   We work hard for them and they reward us by telling their business peers - about NZAB and how we could be part of their own growth story.  

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Thank You!

Dec 24, 2020 2:23:54 PM / by Scott Wishart posted in Debt, Action, Planning, Budget, Banking, Strategy

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As another year draws to a close, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all our clients and industry professionals who have supported us this year. You keep us motivated, engaged, and at the top of our game.

As I reflect on the successes, I am incredibly proud that we have been able to continue to grow our business and support more of the industry. We added seven staff this year, with two more starting in January, opened a new region and began investing in technology and systems to provide an even better banking outcome.

We are really excited about what is ahead.

The Agri sector has grown and thrived off the back of long term, stable thinking and in a year that has felt like an incredible amount of short-term decisions have been made it’s important to stop, reflect and remember the journey that you’re on and celebrate the steps you have taken towards achieving that overall vision. You might find you have gone further than you realised!

As Cam Black has written for us in his first article below - as an industry, we can be hard on ourselves and it's so important we stop once in a while to smell the roses.

Have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year, and we look forward to working with you all again in the 2021

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The future of Agricultural finance. it’s all about rogue bees!

Jul 31, 2020 4:44:58 PM / by Scott Wishart posted in Debt, Action, Planning, Budget, Banking, Strategy

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Scott Wishart, Managing Director, NZAB

I came across this the other day:

A company pursuing only profit but not considering the impact of its profit seeking upon customer satisfaction, trust or long-term resilience, could do very well in the short term, but its long term future may be perilous. There is a parallel in the behaviour of bees, which do not make the most of the system they have evolved to collect nectar and pollen. Although they have an efficient way of communicating about the direction of reliable food sources, the waggle dance, a significant proportion of the hive seems to ignore it altogether and journeys off at random. In the short term, the hive would be better off all bees slavishly followed the waggle dance, and for a time this random behaviour baffled scientists, who wondered why 20 million years of bee evolution had not enforced a greater level of behavioural compliance
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Interest Rates: Are you getting what you deserve?

May 8, 2020 11:39:09 AM / by Scott Wishart

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In the past there were two key ways to get the best interest rate. Firstly, borrow lots of money, or secondly shop around. Debt was readily available, banks had appetite to grow, and we were going through a wave of land use change and intensification that allowed for lots of money to be lent out on as yet unproven scenarios. 

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Coronavirus - Farm Finance Check

Mar 27, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Scott Wishart posted in Debt, Coronavirus, Action, Planning, Budget, Agriculture, Banking, Covid-19, Strategy

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There's a lot of uncertainties at the moment, but our job is to assist you in ensuring that your finance isn't one of them. To our clients, you'll be getting a call from us in the next couple of days so we can check in to see if there's anything else we can be doing to help you.

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