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NOUMÉA, French Polynesia (January 15, 2002 - Oceania Flash)--- French banking group Caisse d'Epargne, as a final step in the takeover of Bank of Hawaii facilities in the French Pacific territories, has now renamed all former BOH branches, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

Bank of Hawaii branches were purchased by Caisse d'Epargne late last year, after the Honolulu-based group announced it was liquidating most of its Pacific islands banking assets in order to refocus its activities on the American market.

In other parts of the Pacific, including Fiji and Vanuatu, the branches were taken over by the ANZ group.

In New Caledonia, what was formerly known as Bank of Hawaii Nouvelle-Calédonie (BOH-NC) is now simply called Banque de Nouvelle-Calédonie.

The new management said the change will have no negative consequences for their clients. They will continue to benefit from the same services they received in the past.

BOH account numbers, credit cards and checkbooks will remain valid and will gradually be phased out and replaced by BNC material, when BNC finalizes its new logo, a bank spokesperson said.

According to a statement from Bank of Hawaii, the assets for sale in the French Pacific territories included 17 branches in French Polynesia (under the name of Banque de Tahiti) and eight in New Caledonia.

According to BOH, the sale involves approximately US$ 940 million in total combined deposits, and approximately US$1 billion in total combined assets.

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