Competition in any market is always healthy and benefits the consumers.
Such was the view of the Attorney-General and acting Prime Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum as he officially launched the French-owned BRED Bank (Fiji) Limited in Suva on Friday.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum called for support for the newly-established bank saying it would be good for Fijian consumers. “BRED Bank being a new bank in the market needs all our support,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said. “As the Governor said at the bank’s soft opening a few weeks ago, BRED Bank has met all the numerous requirements that have been put in place by the Reserve Bank of Fiji.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum stressed the introduction of a new company into Fiji was always very welcome. “This sets Fiji up as the financial hub of the South Pacific because you cannot be a financial hub if you do not have such rules and transparent procedures in place to be attract such investment,” he said.
French bank but local chief here
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “It makes it even more special that the company has at its head a Fijian. “I think we should all put our hands together for being the local chief executive of BRED Bank. I encourage BRED Bank to be robust in the market and to ensure the competition continues.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum acknowledged BRED Bank’s recent announcement of a home loan rate that was significantly low, something which Government has been encouraging. “We have already good service provided by four other banks but with the introduction of this bank we hope to again lift up the services.”
The multiplier effect
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “We encourage the financial sector to provide a lot more opportunities for ordinary Fijians to get into home building, become first time home owners.
“Any economist will tell you through home building and construction, it provides a multiplier effect on the economy and this does not only empower people but it also creates a lot of robustness within the market,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said. The creation of a national switch was also a strong point that Mr Sayed-Khaiyum made.
“Put simply, a national switch is where all the banks are able to direct all electronic transactions through one national switch where information gets captured and it provides accessibility to all financial institutions,” he said.
Use existing infrastructure
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said for a new entrant like BRED Bank, it does not necessarily mean they have to go about setting up new ATMs and EFTPOS machines separately throughout the country.
“What the bank can do is take advantage of the existing ATMs machines that exist for other banks,” he said. BRED Bank deputy chairman, Darryl Constantine, said: “It would be almost two weeks since BRED Bank opened in Fiji. “My every sense is, despite the competitive market, that we have the potential of becoming a major player and deliver on its potential.
“My job will be to provide the best of my ability the necessary platform for BRED Bank to grow and I look forward to working with BRED Bank Fiji. “We have seen over the past couple of weeks a bit of competition taking place in the market which is very good for the consumers and customers.”