“After the recent announcement of the intended acquisition, we have been sharing with Westpac’s staff and customers in those countries how we acquired Commonwealth Bank’s Colonial operations in Fiji and how customers and staff there experienced an improvement in financial services and job security.”
He made these comments to the media this morning at a press conference at the Suva Head Office.
Mr. Fleming explained our strong financial position with our capital ratios exceeding those of other banks in the regions. He said BSP is a very capitally sound bank with a lot of financial strength and capability and new customers shouldn’t have anything to fear.
Mr. Fleming has been travelling to those countries that BSP in in the process of acquiring, with the Chairman of the Board, assuring Westpac’s staff that their jobs are secure and that we are taking care to transition their customers to BSP as seamlessly as possible in the coming months.
“One of the key themes we have been presenting is that BSP is buying the businesses in these countries - not just the balance sheet or the profit and loss performances. The two key parts of the business are the staff and customers.”
Fiji Country Manager Kevin McCarthy supported Mr. Fleming’s comments stating that they made the same commitment when they purchased the Colonial Group in Fiji in 2009. Mr. McCarthy stated that rather than being concerned about decreasing staff numbers, they had in fact increased staff numbers.
The media were also informed that the whole process may take up to 6-months as the regulators in the five countries individually need to approve the acquisition.
He further offered that after the acquisition had been approved by the regulators, BSP would look to rebrand those operations immediately and quickly. In addition to that they would have a look at the product range with a view to improving the offer within those countries, similar to the Fiji example. In addition to the banking products, there will also be opportunities for new services and products like BSP Finance’s easy finance products and BSP Life’s insurance products.
Mr. Fleming was questioned on why BSP didn’t buy Westpac’s Fiji or PNG operations, which are considered lucrative, compared to the 5 markets in question. He explained that these two operations were not on offer.
“We have confidence in the economies of those countries thus the decision to acquire those businesses. When the settlement is done, we will invest to build and position them to provide customers a great customer experience, and the shareholder strong returns on equity in the medium to long term,’’ Mr. Fleming said.
“Our investment will be made on people, products, systems and on the brand.”
On the issue for opportunities for BSP Fiji staff to work in those countries, Mr. Fleming commented that, first and foremost, the Bank would provide job security to the staff in those countries.
There could be opportunities for staff from the current BSP Group in specialised or advisory capacities.
Related news feeds:
Job security vital (source: FijiTimes)