WESTPAC GAINS 20,000 NEW ACCOUNTS IN RURAL FIJI

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Bank enjoys windfall from government contract

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 16, 2011) – Commercial bank Westpac Fiji now has more than 20,000 customers who were previously [without accounts], the majority of them are in rural areas.

[PIR editor's note: The Australia-based Westpac Banking Corporation has been operating in Fiji for over a century, once known as the Bank of New South Wales. The bank claimed a profit of over FJ$47 million (US$26 million) at the end of fiscal year 2008.]

Westpac Fiji general manager Jason Stephens said growth in customer numbers was subsequent to the bank winning a tender by the Department of Social Welfare to provide family assistance payments to recipients.

"Of the 20,000, there are still 18,000 that remain open, remain active and are using their account, which is a fantastic result for both the department and the Department of Social Welfare," Mr. Stephens said.

[PIR editor's note: In July 2011, Westpac announced a dramatic reduction for the price of sending monies from Australia to the Pacific, dropping from AU$30 to AU$10 (US$31.38 to US$10.46)]

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