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Papua new Guinea's Kina Bank has not considered acquiring Westpac Group’s banking operations in the Pacific, according to chief executive officer Greg Pawson.
He told The National that the bank had just recently acquired ANZ’s retail, commercial and small-medium enterprise (SME) businesses and now have a national footprint, adding it does not need another one.
“Westpac have made it public that they are intending to exit the Pacific market,” Pawson said.
“They are currently in Fiji and PNG. So the question whether we are considering acquiring them is not the case.”
But Pawson said discussions on the matter could be considered if Westpac reached out to Kina Bank.
It has to be determined then whether it is aligned to Kina’s current strategy.
“We haven’t considered an acquisition of them, but if they reached out, we would be happy to have discussions,” Pawson said.
“And if there are some form of alignment with Kina and our current strategy, then we might consider it.
“But bear in mind, we have just completed the ANZ acquisition so we’ve got a national footprint now and we don’t need another one.
“We’ve got a branch network across the country and we’ve got a compelling banking capability and offer for our customers.
“So if any Westpac customer would like to move, now is the time to consider.
“That is kind of where we’re at. There’s no formal intention about acquiring Westpac’s business.”
Prime Minister James Marape told those at an Independence Day dinner last Wednesday including members of the business community that Westpac and ANZ were discussing an exit from the country.
He warned them that they might not return to do business in the country in future.
Westpac PNG has however assured its clients that it was in PNG to serve the country through its various support systems.
A Westpac spokesperson told The National that the bank was currently undertaking a strategy review of its specialist businesses which included wealth platforms, superannuation products, investment, general and life insurance and auto finances as well as Westpac Pacific.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL
Pacific Islands News Association
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