SAMOA OBSERVER - With the paint barely dry on the new signage covering the Westpac brand, the Bank of the South Pacific (BSP) in Samoa has hit a small speed bump, according to customers.
A businesswoman has told the Samoa Observer that her newly issued BSP cheque book are not being accepted by the Australia New Zealand (ANZ) Bank.
“They (ANZ) said they will still accept Westpac cheques but surely that’s not right,” said the confused customer, “because they are no longer operating.”
“This is causing difficulty for my business customers and staff,” she said.
ANZ Manager of Priority Banking, Georgina Andersen, was very clear where the problem lay.
“ANZ does not have a Cheque Settlement Exchange agreement with the Bank of the South Pacific,” she explained.
“I recommend that you speak to the BSP,” she advised. “They should have had that sorted before issuing cheque books.”
The Human Resources spokesperson at BSP, Michelle Lemisio, when asked why BSP cheques were not being accepted said they were still “working on it.”
“We are working on rectifying this and negotiating with Matt Fisher,” she said.
Matt Fisher is the General Manager of the ANZ Bank.
As to why BSP had not organized the agreement, Acting General Manager Maryanne Lameko-Va’ai gave several reasons.
“This is our second day into an operation of what is a major transaction between banks,” she explained. “You can expect some teething problems when you have a new bank in the economy but we will have these things sorted in the next few days."
“When we have these exchanges between banks, there have to be clearing accounts."
“We are working with the ANZ and the Central Bank of Samoa on this matter."
"We have already had confirmation from the other two banks, the Samoa Commercial Bank and the National Bank of Samoa and once we hear back from the ANZ then we’ll be good to go, said Lameko-Va'ai.
Solomon Islands’ BSP takeover has hit bumps as well and consultations are underway with the Central Bank to sort-out the hiccups before BSP takes over Wespac here.