PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT
Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
Tuvalu's Two Banks to Merge
FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (December 1998 - Tuvalu Echoes)---The government plans to merge the operations of the National Bank of Tuvalu (NBT)and the Development Bank of Tuvalu (DBT) and establish a single, multipurpose national bank to serve the people of Tuvalu.
The Cabinet has approved the merger concept, and the Minister of Finance has given instructions for detailed planning to be put in place so that final decisions on implementation can be made as soon as possible.
The government’s aim is to improve the quality and availability of banking services throughout Tuvalu.
Following the merger, people will be able to obtain all kinds of banking services from the National Bank of Tuvalu (NBT). Bank staff will be trained to provide advice and conduct transactions on personal, housing, commercial, and business development loans. Customers will be able to obtain a complete picture of their banking affairs in one interview or communication with the bank, and receive instructions about all their accounts in one message.
At the same time, important improvements will be made to banking services on the outer islands, linked to the strengthening of the Falekaupule government structure. Full time bank staff, providing one-stop services for all kinds of banking, and in close contact with the head office, will replace the separate part-time arrangements presently operated by NBT and DBT.
Existing loans made by DBT will be taken over by NBT on the same terms and conditions. The government will make sure that the multipurpose bank has sufficient special-purpose, long-term funds to support its development lending to new and expanding businesses. The bank will cooperate closely with the Chamber of Commerce and the government’s Business Advisory Unit in promoting the growth of private enterprise.
A number of new jobs will be created in the process of improving banking services, but some jobs will be lost because of the merger. Any staff members whose jobs come to an end, and who are not employed in the new structure, will be paid compensation for loss of employment.
Planning the merger has now begun. The government expects to be able to decide on the detailed arrangements in March 1999. Then, the process of creating the multipurpose NBT is expected to take about six months.
(Provided by Seve Paeniu.)