Source: The National, Thursday, March 28, 2013
WESTPAC PNG will build a second branch in fast-growing Lae to complement its new branches in Port Moresby (at the site of the old Burns Philp store) and along Waigani Drive, managing director Ashleigh Matheson said.
|New Westpac Port Moresby at the site of the old Burns Philp store.-Nationalpic by MALUM NALU|
A number of its branches around the country would also be renovated over the next 12 months, he said
Matheson said Westpac currently had 15 branches around the country and two agents, the most recent being the one in the Stop N Shop Express store at Airways Hotel, and 460 staff working in its branches nationwide.
“We’re expanding in Lae so we’re having a second commercial centre in Lae,” he said.
“That will be down in the wharf area.
“That’s the part of town where most commercial businesses are and we also want to be in there
“We are also renovating a couple of branches over the next 12 months.”
Matheson said with “in-store banking”, Westpac services were reaching into remote villages without the need to build new branches.
“That’s working extremely well since we started a couple of months ago,” he said.
“We’ve rolled out 40 in store merchants already.
“We had a target of getting to 100 by the end of September, but, we now actually believe it will be up to 200 by then.”
“We’ll keep this programme going for as long as it’s needed so we could have up to 1,000 merchants out there acting as bank agents.”
“We see this as sustainable because of the ruggedness of this country, and the difficulties of moving cash and people around.
“We don’t believe that it’s feasible at the present time, or sustainable, to open up lots of bank branches around the country.
“They’re very expensive to run.”