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Kina Bank outlines how the proposed acquisition of Westpac will improve customer experiences, lower costs and provide competition in the region.

New Bank: independent, strong, publicly listed regional bank

Kina’s bold ambition is to create the bank of the future for PNG. The proposed acquisition of Westpac’s business would promote a stronger, publicly listed regional bank. It shows our commitment to customers in PNG and it would also reaffirm PNG’s position as the largest economy in the Pacific.

We are currently working through the formal submissions with the regulators. As the only financial services organisation in PNG with the capital and experience to complete this acquisition successfully, we believe there is a great story here.

The additional scale, customers and footprint would give us the ability to take banking back to basics with better customer service and a focus on lowering the cost of banking.

It will be a great outcome for customers from a product and service perspective. We will be better positioned to drive innovation and introduce more choice. We will be able to introduce further fee free banking options; a new suite of world class digital products and services; and we will be able to re-price business lending, making it more cost-effective for business customers to access funding. We will also be able to make significant investment in the branch network, technology and systems.

Our intention is to retain the Westpac commercial banking licence and create an exciting new brand to compete vigorously with Kina Bank, BSP and ANZ with a specific focus on financial inclusion, MSME, SME and the commercial segments of both PNG and Fiji.

This multi-brand approach will improve competition, improve customer choice, and lower the cost of banking for everyone. A multi-brand strategy means there would be no branch closures, no reduction in the in-store network and no job losses. In fact, we will have greater capability to expand the branch and in-store network even further, providing more access for harder to reach communities. It also means there will be no disruption to customers. No changes to systems or processes or the way customers go about doing their business. Literally nothing changes except for the name above the door. This multi-brand approach has a well-established precedent across the world and it means there would be no lessening of competition and no prospect of a duopoly or market dominance.

The newly branded bank will be independent and separate from the existing Kina Bank brand and it will be governed by an independent PNG based board of directors. There will also be significant opportunities for anyone in PNG to invest and participate in the ownership of the new brand through Kina Securities Limited.

A bigger bank, and stronger financial services sector, is important for the stability of the financial system in PNG. The proposed acquisition will provide a scale financial services organisation, more investment, and confirms our strategic commitment to banking in the region.