ANZ Bank has put to rest any speculations on the possibility of sale of its Fiji operations after the sale of its retail, commercial and SME businesses in Papua New Guinea to Kina Bank.
A spokesperson from the bank said ANZ’s decision to focus its business in PNG on servicing institutional and large corporate customers and as a result, sell its retail, commercial and SME businesses in PNG to Kina Bank, had no impact on their strategy in Fiji or any other Pacific market, Fiji Times reports.
The Fiji Bank & Finance Sector Employees Union national secretary Sailesh Naidu said the union was closely monitoring the sale of ANZ Bank business in Papua New Guinea.
Naidu said ANZ had previously announced the sales of its retail and wealth businesses in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Vietnam.
“Now the disposal of ANZ business has entered the South Pacific region so obviously we will be concerned with this development considering that ANZ Bank in Fiji employs a large number of employees which include its subsidiary ANZ Pacific Operations which provide back office processing for its Fiji and the PNG operations,” said Naidu.
Naidu said there were strong rumours in the Fijian market that ANZ would be up for sale.
“I think ANZ needs to clear this doubt with its employees and customers as well.”
Meanwhile the spokesperson from ANZ said it was business as usual in Fiji and they wanted to continue doing business that would generate a good return for ANZ, support customer aspirations and help grow the communities the bank operated in.
“Our ongoing investment in our branch network is symbolic of our commitment to our staff and customers here in Fiji. We recently upgraded our branch in Lautoka and our Nausori branch refurbishment is due to be completed by early next month.”
In response to questions on the issue, the bank’s spokesperson said: “We also became the first major bank in the Pacific to launch a mobile banking app, giving customers using iPhones, iPads and Android phones more flexibility to manage their money on the go.
“Staff in our Pacific Operations Centre in Fiji who currently support PNG customer transactions will continue to support the business through the transition period, which is expected to be completed in the next 12 to 18 months.”
The spokesperson said it was important to understand that within ANZ Group, PNG was part of the institutional business, not our Pacific business, and the decision was in line with institutional’s strategy to focus on supporting customers with trade and capital flows in the region.
According to the spokesperson ANZ has had a presence in the Pacific for more than 135 years and were the only AA- rated bank in the region.
“We are raising this issue because the Union has submitted its log of claims to the ANZ Bank after a lapse of five years and after the ENI decree was revoked in 2016.”
Naidu said the bank implemented a new salary structure in 2012 which was inclusive of other benefits such as medical insurance, vehicle and fuel.
He said the union had noted that there was no change in salary structure from 2013 to 2014 and they were advised by the bank that the salary structure from 2012 to 2014 was inclusive of employer’s contribution of 8 per cent Fiji National Provident Fund.
Naidu said the salary was further revised downwards in 2015 after the employer contribution of 8 per cent was increased to 10 per cent by government.
Naidu said the union also noted that there was no increase to employee salaries based on market movement or COLA from 2013 to 2017. The union has made a claim for salary increases based on inflation rate from 2011.
“It is important for the union to protect its claims in case of any sale,” he said.