If you are a BSP customer, you seriously need to read this. This concerns your money in BSP bank.
“When we first wanted to paint the bank green, everyone thought we were crazy”
These where the words of former CEO of Bank South Pacific (BSP), Ian Clyne during a media briefing in Port Moresby.
Bank South Pacific has a colorful history in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and its history spans over 58 years of successful operation in PNG soils. The green money machine has seen an aggressive growth and expansion over the years establishing over 44 branches and 44 sub-branches according to the website PNG Facts.
The current CEO of BSP, Robin Fleming has this to say about the presence of BSP in PNG.
“Having such a large physical presence, despite the high cost of maintenance, means that our customers don’t have to travel far when undertaking banking transactions”
The site PNG Facts notes that BSP has 1.4 million customers. However, not all BSP’s 1.4 million customers are happy.
BSP indeed had its brutal share of criticism from its own customers over the years with most of the criticism aimed at the banks fees.
Leading political figures in the like of former Prime and current governor of New Ireland Province, Sir Julius Chan came out last year in Pacific Business Review newspaper calling for the O’Neil Dion government to intervene to reduce what he described as unjustifiably high bank fees.
The call lead to Central Bank governor Loi Bakani and Prime Minister Peter O’Neil coming out public in media giving their views.
Despite such drastic acts, the public view is such that the bank fees in PNG is still unreasonably high.
The truth in a nutshell is that PNG has the highest bank interest rate margins compared to similar countries in the Asia-Pacific region according to National Research Institute (NR) Research Associate and author Professor Satish Chand.
Professor Chand revealed this shocking news on Thursday 06, August 2015 in a press conference hosted by NRI in response to the current debate on the status of the economy triggered by the release of the Mid-Year Economic and Financial Outlook by the department of treasury.
“If the bank interests rates are high as the experts say, than why charge extra fees”?
This seem to be the question in the minds of the thinking Papua New Guineans.
The three major banks in PNG including BSP, ANZ and Westpac remain firm that their fees are justifiable.
The green bank has an interesting case.
In a media briefing last year, Robin Fleming was taken to task by Pacific Business Review newspaper regarding high bank fees charged by BSP and other banks.
Fleming gave an interesting reply;
“BSP is the people’s bank. Our fees are reasonable and justifies products and services we offer to the people of PNG”
He named the BSP’s fee-free Sumatin Account as an example.
The truth remains to be seen that BSP has outgrown its competitors in areas of research and development, new product creation and innovative marketing techniques and most importantly reaching the unbanked population in the some areas of PNG where its competitors, Westpac and ANZ cannot go.
Some key transaction milestones Fleming disclosed last year (2014) are noted here;
“We processed over 30 million mobile banking transactions, 35 million ATM transactions, 20 million EFTPOS transaction and 13 million branch and sub-branch transaction”
The shocking truth is that despite many complains, BSP has done more for PNG and that we can complain but at the end of the day, many will run to BSP no matter what.
BSP remains as Fleming alluded to earlier, the “People’s Bank”.
It is now up to you are as a wise customer to compare the bank fees of all banks in PNG and go for the lowest because complaining as an individual will never do you any good.
There you go….