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Mr Evans (47) will take over officially in August when Mr Smith retires from SBS after 22 years as chief executive.
SBS chairman John Ward said in a statement Mr Evans impressed with his wide-ranging industry experience, strategic insight and leadership qualities during the highly contested recruitment process.
The financial services industry was evolving at a rapid pace, placing opportunities and challenges in front of SBS.
''Wayne's proven financial services background in retail networks, IT and marketing will enable SBS to continue to be strategically positioned within the banking sector.''
Mr Evans said SBS was not only part of the fabric of Southland's own successful story but, increasingly, was playing a greater role in the financial services sector in New Zealand.
Mr Evans was educated at Southland Boys' High School before completing a bachelor of commerce (accounting) degree at the University of Otago and a postgraduate diploma in psychology at Massey University.
He returned to Invercargill to establish the SBS subsidiary Finance Now.