BSP, headquartered in Papua New Guinea (PNG), opened its operations in the Cook Islands on Monday, taking over the services of Westpac.
BSP Cook Islands country manager David Street says the transition has been smooth, with significant planning done in preparation for the takeover over the last few months.
He says rebranding of the bank’s premises is near completion and staff are wearing their new green BSP uniforms.
Street says the bank has always intended to keep the changes to a minimum, adding this has been achieved.
“We are also pleased to say that all local Cook Island staff will continue to be employed by BSP and in most cases senior and country management have also been retained.”
“Existing bank account numbers remain unchanged and Westpac-branded cards are being replaced with BSP cards which can continue to be used with existing PINs.
“These cards are now available for collection from BSP branches. Old Westpac cheque books also need to be replaced with BSP cheque books and these also can be obtained from the branch.”
The one area that BSP have not been able to maintain existing services is in the issuing of American Express cards. However, Street says the bank has a viable and cost effective alternative available which the customers can enquire about.
“With regards to merchants accepting AMEX transactions, despite our best efforts and the support of Westpac, we were not able to get American Express to complete their activities before July 10.
“Unfortunately there will be a delay before merchants can recommence accepting American Express transactions.”
Street assures customers of an improved banking service under BSP’s banner adding the bank is committed to provide opportunity, nurture talent, develop leaders and reward achievements.
“We are a bank that works to provide sustained profitable growth for our shareholders. This requires a continuing focus on our customers and the health of our bank.
“We also take seriously the responsibilities that come with being a leader. We help our customers build better communities and leverage our size, scope and resources to help make the South Pacific a better place.”
BSP has been operating in PNG for almost 60 years and in more recent times, has expanded operations into the Solomon Islands and Fiji.
The group’s assets stand at $9.5 billion.