Nothing to fear: Kina Bank’s executive dismisses claims of ‘duopoly’ in Papua New Guinea


Kina Bank will adopt a ‘multi-brand’ strategy after acquiring Westpac PNG, according to Lesieli Taviri, Executive General Manager for Banking. She believes fears about a duopoly are unfounded.

Kina Bank Lesieli Taviri

Kina Bank’s Lesieli Taviri. Credit: Kina Bank

Taviri told the Prime Minister’s Back to Business Breakfast 2021 that there would not be a loss of competition in Papua New Guinea’s banking sector should Kina Bank’s planned acquisition of Westpac PNG go ahead in September this year.

The merger is subject to regulatory approval. Kina Bank shareholders will also be asked to endorse the acquisition at an extraordinary general meeting scheduled for 11 March.

‘There’s been some talk that this acquisition would affect market concentration and create a duopoly – or create another financial services business that’s too dominant. This simply isn’t true,’ she said. ‘After the proposed acquisition, the market share of the combined businesses of Kina Bank and Westpac PNG would be less than 20 per cent.’

Bank South Pacific will remain PNG’s largest bank.

‘Kina will create a “completely new brand for the acquired business” and maintain the independent commercial banking licence of Westpac PNG.’

Taviri said Kina Bank’s ‘multi-brand approach’ should actually improve competition and customer choice, plus ‘continue to disrupt the banking sector in this country in a positive way’.

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Kina will create a ‘completely new brand for the acquired business’ and maintain the independent commercial banking licence of Westpac PNG.

‘It is worth nothing that there are four commercial banking licenses in PNG, and numerous micro banks and savings and loan societies operating in the country,’ she said. ‘Furthermore, the Bank of PNG can, at any time, grant additional commercial banking licenses to either domestic or international institutions.

‘The newly-branded bank will be independent and separate from the existing Kina Bank brand, and it will compete directly and vigorously with BSP, ANZ and Kina Bank in both PNG and Fiji.’

‘We are also planning to radically shift the way we price business lending.’

No closures

She claimed the multi-brand strategy would mean no branch closures, no reduction in the ‘instore network’ and no job losses.

‘There will be no disruption to customers in both countries [PNG and Fiji]. No changes to systems or processes, or the way customers go about doing their business. Literally nothing changes except for the name above the door.’

The only change will be that decisions and the management of operations will be made in PNG not offshore, she added.

‘This multi-brand approach has a well-established precedent. We see it in Australia with Westpac and St George; in the UK with Lloyds and TSB; and in the United Stated with Wells Fargo and Bank of America. And we see it in many other countries across the world.’

Renewed focus

Kina Bank Westpac PNGTaviri said that the acquisition would create additional scale, increasing the number of customers and creating a larger footprint. She also explained that it will enable Kina to introduce more choice for customers.

The rebranded bank’s mandate will be to focus on the MSME, SME and commercial sectors.

‘We will reinvigorate Westpac’s financial inclusion program that has been dormant for some time.

One of the plans, she said, is to introduce ‘fee-free’ banking on transaction accounts for customers across both brands.

‘We are also planning to radically shift the way we price business lending. We will introduce new advisory services for the SME and MSME sector. We will invest in new platforms to support the superannuation sector. And we will provide a whole new suite of world-class digital products and services.

‘It provides a scale financial services organisation, more investment, and a firm strategic commitment to banking in the region – something that we think has been sadly missing. It also reaffirms PNG’s position as the largest economy in the Pacific region.’

Further competition?

In related developments in PNG’s banking sector, TISA (Teachers Savings and Loan Society Ltd) recently confirmed it had applied for banking licence, while Nasfund Contributors Savings and Loans (NCSL) Chairman Ian Tarutia said late last year the company was also exploring the move. PNG’s state-owned National Development Bank has also expressed similar aspirations in recent years.


  1. I do hope that Kina bank will be more the people bank and not a nather banking conglomerate

  2. david arua says

    if i bank at westpac how can i apply for the loan from Kina Bank. if it possible for me to apply for the loan from kina bank.

  3. Thomas Abe says

    So long as we have strong regulators always alert to protect consumer rights – job for ICCC and PNG Bank. We have seen instances of abuse of power by the Banks in Australia.

  4. Sakarias Ikio spiceman says

    So long as lending policies change to empower MSMEs, that will be great. BSP SME banking is not genuine, it’s not much helpful for SMEs under their current lending policies, too much restrictions and bottle neck

  5. Appreciate a bigger picture…bank fees like BSP is doing is a concern as a customer..

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