In 2002, the Papua New Guinea Government declared plans to transfer banking operations of PNGBC to the successful bidder, Bank South Pacific Limited (BSP), now known as BSP Financial Group Limited (BSP).
The announcement has cause for some apprehension for staff in PNGBC and BSP, especially from the PNGBC staff. It left some staff members wondering if there would be job cuts or position redundancies, and what the structure of the new organisation will be. Although the Government issued statements reassuring the public and the staff that no jobs will be lost and this will make the banks stronger, the staff were still not convinced.
Now 20 years on, BSP is the largest commercial bank in Papua New Guinea, the South Pacific, and with two (2) subsidiary branches in the South East Asia. BSP has more than 3,100 staff in PNG and 4,600across the group, and is one of the largest private sector company in PNG.
Some of the 366 who are still employees of the bank today shared their experiences on the merger since 9th April, 2022.
Lucy Darius, a Senior Customer Officer at BSP Kavieng Branch in 2021 clocked up 25 years in BSP and when collecting her award, she recounted on the merger that caused a mixed feeling among staff at that time. “If anyone ever ask me, what has been a memorable experience when working with the bank? I would simply say, “The merger! The banks merger of PNGBC and BSP in 2002 was a very intense encounter in my banking career. When many of us were unsure of what the merger would be like and few decided to quit their jobs, I decided to stay on and work with BSP. Today, I never regret my decision to stay on and be part of this essential change. The merger has brought vital changes to the banking system in PNG and my career experience.”
Like Lucy, BSP Popondetta Deputy Branch Manager Maudy Ruruga recently clocked 40-years with the bank in 2022. Lucy said, “I remember how the talks about the merger hit the branches and many of us were concerned of what BSP would bring forth. However, after the merger, while many of us had difficulties adapting to the changes but soon realised it was for the better. Today, things have changed rapidly, not just the name change but working environment and I am happy I survived the change and built my career.”
Another staff, Janet Kauga, Senior AML Analyst recounts her case saying, “Adapting to changes was a challenge, but looking back, today, banking is on our fingertips. I appreciate BSP for leading the way in making huge changes in the banking environment.”
LEFT: Kevin Pipite at PNGBC Mt Hagen. | RIGHT: Kevin Pipite now.
BSP Kundiawa Deputy Branch Manager Kevin Pipite also tells of the first ATM installed in Mt Hagen in 1996. That was the beginning of the digital banking era. “Today, banking has become more and more efficient with the use of technology.”
As a result of these changes at the time pf the merger over the last 20 years, BSP is the largest banking group in the Pacific with total assets in excess of K30.4b (A$11.9b), 118 branches and sub-branches and over 3 million Customer accounts.
Since pursuing its strategy of expansion in the South Pacific and South East Asia, the bank continues to provide innovative products and service to serve its customers' banking needs, focusing on businesses, stakeholders and customers to enable strong and consistent balance sheet growth and record earnings.