The National, Friday 25th November 2011
BANK South Pacific has reluctantly closed its branch in Maprik, East Sepik province after the building it occupies has been “condemned” as unsafe by local authorities.
The bank decided to close following letters from the Maprik local level government council, the East Sepik provincial government and PNG Power Ltd stating that the building was unsafe and dangerous.
The Maprik LLG sent the initial letter to BSP, followed by those from the provincial government and then PNG Power, asking the bank to disconnect power to the building from next Monday, citing the danger of continuing the power service.
“The branch, including the ATM cannot operate without power.
“The ATM also needs to be serviced with cash and other supplies by a branch, as such the machine has also been reluctantly closed,” the bank said in a statement yesterday.
“It all began from a minor electrical incident.
“Despite a local electrical firm and BSP personnel confirming there was no imminent threat, the bank has to submit to requests by the authorities,” it said.
“All letters received from the authorities have been passed to the landlord, Maprik MP Gabriel Kapris … however he is yet to respond or resolve the issue.”
“Since no action has been taken, we have reluctantly closed the Maprik branch in the best interests of customer and staff safety,” BSP said.
BSP made the statement following concerns raised by locals, including businesses that the closure would impact the local economy.
The bank was considering alternate options, however at this stage no firm decision had been reached.
“Customers are advised that we have decided to shut down the Maprik branch not by choice but as a result of circumstances that are beyond our control and all banking will have to be done in Wewak branch,” BSP said.