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Australian bank cites conservative lending, resilience in tough

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 19, 2009) – The Australian Westpac Banking Corporation (Fiji) has made an operating profit in Fiji of FJ$47.4 million [US$26 million] after tax for their full financial year which ended on September 30, 2008.

Westpac general manager for Fiji Islands John Cashmore said the result showed the strength and resilience of the bank and its ability to support its customers during tough economic times.

"Westpac is one of only 17 banks globally to have an AA rating and our prudent approach to managing the business over the long term has positioned us well," said Mr. Cashmore.

"We have been in Fiji for more than 100 years and we remain committed to Fiji and its people," he said.

"Our conservative lending practices and strict discipline have not only helped deliver profitable growth but also put us in a strong position to meet the challenges that we face ahead of us.

"We have been able to invest in a number of customer-focused initiatives and our next stage of growth."

Cashmore said the bank would continue to encourage and invest in the development of the country and its people.

Seven Westpac Fiji bank employees have been seconded to various Pacific Island branches including the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu.

"Heading into this new year, we plan to expand our representation by looking at new branches," said Cashmore. We will look into new ATMs (Automated Teller Machine) and EFTPoS facilities.

"At the same time, we will want to continue to invest in the refurbishment of our existing branches, our processes and technology upgrading and including the anti-money laundering system," he said.

"We remain firmly committed to the Fiji Islands and its people."

The Westpac Bank was formerly known as the Bank of New South Wales.

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.



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