The plan to create the so-called Heartland Bank has reached another milestone with the issuing of shares.
Pyne Gould Corporation's finance arm Marac, the Canterbury Building Society and Southern Cross Building Society have merged.
Shares in Building Society Holdings Ltd have now been issued, although they are not expected to list on the stock exchange until the end of the month.
The ultimate aim is to obtain a banking licence to create a $2.2 billion lender.
Chief executive Jeff Greenslade says that aspiration received a significant boost this week when Standard and Poor's issued an investment-grade credit rating for the new building society.
Mr Greenslade says they believe such a rating is a prerequisite in seeking to become a bank.