29 Jan 2015

Westpac pulls out of five Pacific nations

2:17 pm on 29 January 2015

The banking corporation Westpac says it will sell its banking operations in five Pacific Island nations to the Bank of South Pacific for about US$100 million.

Westpac bank

Westpac quits five Pacific countries Photo: REUTERS

Westpac says the sale of the businesses in Samoa, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga will be complete in the middle of this year and allow it to concentrate on larger markets in the region.

The bank will retain operations in Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

BSP is the largest Pacific-originated bank, with operations in PNG, Fiji and Solomon Islands and is headquartered in PNG.

Chief executive of Westpac Institutional Bank, Westpac Pacific's parent division, Rob Whitfield, says the decision reflects the lender's desire to increase focus on its growth plans in the larger markets of PNG and Fiji.

Westpac has strong ties to PNG and Fiji, being both the longest serving bank in Fiji and the first bank in PNG.