Bank of South Pacific (BSP) takes over Westpac Operations in Solomon Islands

Date: Tuesday November 3rd, 2015

Bank South Pacific (BSP) has officially acquired Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac) in Solomon Islands, positioning it as a regional leader in financial and banking services.

The completion of sale between Westpac and BSP was last Friday October 30th, after both parties obtained necessary statutory, regulatory and third party approvals in Solomon Islands.

BSP acknowledges and thanks the Central Bank of Solomon Islands, its Governor and Board of Director for their consideration and subsequent approval to acquire Westpac operations. The acquisition process started in January this year. In July 2015, BSP acquired Westpac operations in Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga.

BSP Group Chief Executive Officer Robin Fleming explained that this acquisition is consistent with BSP's Pacific based expansion strategy, which has been maintained since 2006 when the bank acquired the Habib Bank in Fiji, National Bank of Solomon Islands in 2007 and the Colonial Groups of Companies (Banking & Life Businesses) in Fiji in 2009.

Further, as a business domiciled in PNG, the largest South Pacific island economy, BSP has developed a strategic interest to find opportunities, build commercial relationships, and grow its presence in the economies of the South Pacific region.

The  acquisition  brings  respected  customers,  skilled  employees  and  specialised  processes  and systems. It positions BSP as a leading Pacific regional financial services business, maximising future opportunities from PNG's growing long term trade and economic influence in the region.

Mr Fleming assured customers that there will be minimal disruptions as BSP does not intend to make any disruptive changes. Minor changes to products, services will be communicated by BSP to customers, but there is unlikely to be any real change regarding interactions between customers and BSP.

"Our expansion into Solomon Island reinforces our vision to become the preeminent bank in PNG and  the  South  Pacific  and  we  are  100%  committed  to  providing  flexible,  convenient  everyday banking solutions for all our clients," he said. BSP currently has 7 branches, 40 Agents, 19 ATMs and

157 EFTPoS devices across the Solomon Islands. Its Mobile and Internet Banking offer solutions that provide convenience and flexibility.

BSP is also committed to helping its customers build better communities and leverage its size, scope and  resources  to  help  make  the  South  Pacific  a  better  place  through  its  Corporate  Social Responsibility activities. "As many Solomon Island people and communities will know we also take seriously the responsibilities that come with being a leader and we have delivered many worthy community project over the years, including supporting causes such as relief efforts in the 2014 floods that devastated Honiara and surrounding districts on Guadalcanal," Mr Fleming added.

The Chairman of BSP, Sir Kostas Constantinou, OBE said that the bank was pleased to have this opportunity to increase its commitment to the Pacific.

"It is a regional strategy and we will continue to have a strong presence in the region for a very long time. BSP is living up to its name as the Bank of South Pacific'.

Sir Kostas added that this is a milestone transaction not only in the corporate development of BSP, not only in the development of Papua New Guinea as an economic force in the South Pacific Island nations, but also a positive example of people of the South Pacific Island nations developing their capabilities in regional commercial and economic activities.