Bank South Pacific’s Immoral & Draconian Retail ‘Service’ Fees
Rowan Callick of The Australian has written an interesting article in this month’s Islands Business regarding Bank of South Pacific’s strategic growth within the Pacific banking industry. It may be that within the next five years PNG’s largest bank will also be the largest financial player in the Pacific.
In 2004 BSP bought Westpac in Niue, then it purchased the small Fijian lender Habib Bank in 2006, followed by the acquistion of National Bank of Solomon Islands in 2007. More recently, BSP has admitted that it is committed to also acquiring Colonial Bank (owned by the Commonwealth Bank) in Fiji. It is no surprise that the Commonwealth Bank is thinking about cutting loose all connections with Fiji as the country under Bainimara is no longer conducive to the goals of its parent company. It is more than likely that the BSP-Colonial deal will be brokered before the end of 2009. BSP’s new CEO Ian Clyne has also indicated that its next targets will be the National Bank of Vanuatu and a Samoan bank – either the National Bank of Samoa or the Samoan Commercial Bank.
Ironically, while BSP is increasing its capitalisation off-shore, cracks are now beginning to appear in its PNG stronghold where once loyal customers are threatening to leave the bank altogether due to the recent introduction of a new set of extravagant banking fees that became effective as of August 1, 2009. One such example of BSP’s unreasonableness is its unheard of draconian policy of claiming 2% of any cheque or cash deposit including withdrawls which value is greater than K5,000 (AU$2,260). That’s for existing customers – if you aren’t a BSP customer the bank takes a 5% cut! It seems that in an effort to accommodate the saturation of its own growth within the PNG banking industry, the bank has now turned its attention to gross corporate abuse of the commons in a repugnant move that can only be described as daylight robbery.
Public reaction has been harsh with existing clients already planning a petition and an official complaint to the country’s Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC). One client has started up a Facebook Group titled ‘Against BSP New Retail Fees‘ whose membership has passed one-hundred members in a few days and is still growing.
Because BSP has a regional strategy, it is not unlikely that similar retail ‘service’ fees will also be introduced to its branches in Niue, Fiji, and Solomon Islands once the bank has gained enough market share to justify to its egotistical self the need to impose its immoral fees in those respective markets. And what of BSP’s shareholders who are benefiting from these lavish charges? Not a word! There is a fine line between providing a service and abusing that service, and Bank South Pacific – you have crossed that line.
And now for the final word, a paragraph from BSP’s own Mission Statement located on its website:
“Our future is your future – it’s about growth – growth built on a culture of excellence – a culture that extends from how we think, to how we behave. We will focus on you, our client, because we believe that building and maintaining relationships is the key to our success. Good service is paramount to us. Our entire business is about serving our clients, understanding who they are, listening to them and meeting their needs“.
O BSP, yupela lainim pinis ‘pasin bilong giaman tu i orait’!
~ by Tavurvur on August 14, 2009.
Posted in PNG Business
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