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National Development Bank Wants to Buy Westpac Bank

The National Development Bank (NDB) desires to buy Westpac Bank.

According to chairman Michael Mell, this is part of its long-term goals of going commercial. He said in a press conference in Port Moresby that a monopoly has no room and wants Westpac Bank to consider this offer.

“I have set up a committee from both NDB and People’s Micro Bank. We have been working tirelessly in the background for the last four months,” he said. “We were quietly preparing a bid for it. I was collecting the information about the sale of Westpac and then looking at what kind of money we need to raise to buy the bank but then this announcement came. The deal between the two banks has been done at their level. I have tried to reach out to them and could not."

He added, “In PNG, we need not monopolise the banking system because that is going to kill us. If there are two existing banks, I want to make an offer to Westpac, if NDB can purchase Westpac Bank. We should have three banks for customers to choose from. This is a concern to see Westpac Bank sold to another commercial bank is limiting the choice for PNG businessmen and women to expand, to borrow to grow their businesses. On behalf of the National Development Bank, I want to make an offer through our business arm which is the People’s Micro Bank, a semi-commercial bank, to Westpac. I would like to be given that opportunity so that I can buy that commercial bank for the people of PNG, which will become NDB’s commercial bank while NDB remains as a small to medium enterprises bank.”

Mell said that the bank should think about its offer.

“The banking industry in PNG will no longer be a free market place,” he said. “I see this as a monopoly that is going to kill businesses in Papua New Guinea.”

He called on the Internal Revenue Commission and the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission to look into the matter and to vet it properly, considering, of course, the potential negative effect on the banking sector.

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