BSP Staff Recount Merger Experience

In 2002, the Papua New Guinea Government declared plans to transfer banking operations of PNGBC to the successful bidder, Bank South Pacific, now BSP Financial Group Limited.

The announcement then had caused apprehension for staff from the PNGBC, wondering if there would be job cuts or position redundancies, and what the structure of the new organisation would be.

Now 20 years on, BSP is the largest commercial bank in Papua New Guinea, the South Pacific, and with two subsidiary branches in South East Asia.

BSP has more than 3,100 staff in PNG and 4,600 across the group. Some of the 366 staff who are still employees of the bank today, shared their experiences on the merger.

Lucy Darius, a senior customer officer at BSP Kavieng Branch, clocked 25 years with BSP in 2021.

When collecting her award, she recounted on the merger: “If anyone ever asks me, what has been a memorable experience when working with the bank? I would simply say, ‘The merger!”

“The merging of PNGBC and BSP in 2002 was a very intense encounter in my banking career. When many of us were unsure of what the merger would be like and few decided to quit their jobs, I decided to stay on and work with BSP.

“Today, I never regretted my decision to stay on and be part of this essential change. The merger has brought vital changes to the banking system in PNG and my career experience.”

Like Darius, BSP Popondetta deputy branch manager, Maudy Ruruga, recently clocked 40 years with the bank.

“I remember how the talks about the merger hit the branches and many of us were concerned of what BSP would bring forth. However, after the merger, many of us had difficulties adapting to the changes but soon realised it was for the better.

“Today, things have changed rapidly; not just the name change but the working environment and I am happy I survived the change and built my career.”

Another staff, Janet Kauga, Senior AML analyst, recounted that adapting to changes was a challenge.

“But looking back, today, banking is on our fingertips. I appreciate BSP for leading the way in making huge changes in the banking environment.”

BSP Kundiawa deputy branch manager, Kevin Pipite, also tells of the first ATM installed in Mt Hagen in 1996. That was the beginning of the digital banking era.

“Today, banking has become more and more efficient with the use of technology.”

As a result of these changes at the time of the merger – over the last 20 years – BSP is the largest banking group in the Pacific with total assets in excess of K30.4b (A$11.9b), 118 branches and sub-branches and over 3 million customer accounts. 

(PNGBC days: Janet Kauga, centre, with her colleagues) 

Press Release