2010: SC Finance in receivership

When Patrick Tollan heard that South Canterbury Finance had gone into receivership yesterday morning, he headed straight for the company's head office in Timaru in an unsuccessful attempt to withdraw his savings.

Mr Tollan (26), who invested his money "in good faith" because he understood it was a "safe" company, was told money was not being paid out at the moment.

His mood echoed the weather in Timaru yesterday morning - "grey and dismal" - and the feelings of others in the city, who described it as a sad day for South Canterbury.

Many remained staunch in their support of Allan and Jean Hubbard.

"I think they should just leave Mr Hubbard alone. Bad things are happening to a very good man," one woman said.

"I don't have anything to do with him [Mr Hubbard] personally, or business-wise. From what I can see, I think he's just a genuine down-home kind of guy. I think he's got everybody's best interests at heart," another woman said.

Timaru Mayor Janie Annear said the receivership came as a shock and a blow to the area.

"However, we are strong and resilient and we will overcome this." She intended to contact Mr and Mrs Hubbard yesterday to say local people were "really, really feeling for them".

It would not affect the community's respect for what they had contributed not only to South Canterbury but also New Zealand.

Mrs Annear, who described herself as always an optimist, said she had hoped there would be a solution.

Now at least, the speculation was over.

South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wendy Smith said although it was comforting the Government had moved swiftly to protect the interests of investors, there was uncertainty for borrowers with money tied up in their businesses.

The company is part of the Government's retail deposit guarantee scheme, which ensures investors will get their money back, with interest.




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