Monday 2 February 2015 | Published in Regional
The group said it would retain operations in its largest Pacific markets of Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Completion of the sale is expected to occur by the middle of this year, subject to the parties obtaining the necessary approvals.
BSP’s deputy CEO Johnson Kalo told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the move was a milestone in the bank’s regional expansion plans.
“It plays into the overall trend that we’re seeing more developing trade and economic ties between the countries of the region, more autonomy and independence regarding commerce and economic management in the region,” he said.
“BSP views itself as a large regional organisation, large presence in the Pacific and so having ties across the region is also an important thing.”
“The Pacific expansion has been an ongoing strategy and we will continue to look in the Pacific region and possibly adjacent regions for opportunities which fit our strategic direction.”
Kalo said existing customers’ banking services will remain the same.
He said Westpac customers in the five Pacific countries would receive the same services they had been receiving to date.
“Obviously we will endeavour to make the transition smooth without disruption.
“They will receive services from a bank which is a home grown Pacific bank which is very well versed in running banking operations in small island nations in remote locations in the Pacific.”
He said it would take an initial six to nine months to integrate the Westpac operations into BSP.
Kalo said BSP representatives would visit the five countries and meet with clients, regulators and staff in those locations.
“Then we will follow that up with our more formal structured transition and integration process where we will have working teams possibly visiting for various periods to implement the integration process,” he said.
In a statement, Westpac said its decision to sell its operations was made to focus its efforts on the larger markets of PNG and Fiji.