The first French bank in Fiji, the BRED Bank (Fiji) Limited, was opened here Saturday after injecting close to 40 million Fiji dollars (22.86 million U.S. dollars) into the Fijian economy.
More than 300 people were present at the opening ceremony, with Barry Whiteside, governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, as the chief guest.
Whiteside said the French-owned bank, with 36 jobs created, will improve the banking experience for the public.
"With such favorable indicators, the entrance of BRED Bank is considered timely, and it is expected that customers will benefit from healthy competition within the industry," Whiteside said, adding that the financial system continues to be sound with development in the various sectors reflective through the growth in the total assets of financial sectors.
On the entrance of the newest player in the financial sector, Governor Whiteside said the bank viewed Fiji as having relatively good developed market size, with appealing future economic prospects.
"The fact that we are being seen more and more as an economic and financial hub in our Pacific region is also extremely appealing."
The BRED Bank (Fiji) Limited is locally incorporated and is a subsidiary of Compagnie Financiere de la BRED.
Satish Debb, local chief executive officer of the French-owned bank, said they have come a long way in a very short time in establishing a new bank and have created it with a culture and mind-set to provide better banking for Fiji.
Debb said BRED'S interest to invest significant capital in Fiji was welcomed and supported and its establishment was facilitated by the government and the Reserve Bank of Fiji.
Besides being customer-oriented, the inaugural offers by the bank for the customers who open their account includes not having to pay any monthly service or transaction fee on their premium savings account. It also offers the current highest interest rate in the market with 2.75 percent annum on all balances, said the CEO.