THURSDAY, 20TH FEBRUARY 2014
The Honourable Prime Minister Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama
Cabinet Ministers and Government Officials,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Customers and Distinguished Guests
Ladies and gentlemen.
Bula Vinaka, Namaste and a very good evening to you all !
On behalf of the HFC Board, CEO, Management and staff I extend a very warm welcome to you all.
Tonight’s event is a very significant milestone in Home Finance Company’s history. It is indeed an historical event for HFC and Fiji., “It is home-grown ..”
This occasion indicates to the country at large that we have every confidence in the economy and our Nation – Fiji’s future is bright.
As HFC embarks on this new and exciting journey; we will all agree that it is a proud moment for all Fijians. Over the years the request for HFC to be a local bank has been overwhelming and we wish to acknowledge the support of the Bainimarama government, and our shareholders, Fiji National Provident Fund and Unit Trust of Fiji for their support and confidence on this strategic intent to be a local bank.
HFC was established in 1962 at the initiative of the British Overseas Development Corporation, primarily to provide housing finance to civil servants.
Over the years, it has undergone various transformation and diversification including the shareholding. HFC is currently owned by Fiji National Provident (FNPF) 75 % and Unit Trust of Fiji (UTOF) 25 % respectively.
While some may argue that the banking sector is already well-catered for, we believe that there is room for a local Bank which will provide a critical local perspective. The expectation of the people of Fiji is that it will have more flexibility and understanding to accommodate their needs. Because our Bank is a Fiji Bank we will have a better understanding of our peoples’ needs and we will introduce products that are local.
Our Honourable Prime Minister in his National budget address announced that HFC will commence its banking operations early 2014 with the granting of the banking license in November 2013. HFC Bank is now ready to commence operations as a Bank.
HFC is also delighted with its strategic partnership with DFCC Bank of Sri Lanka. I wish to acknowledge the presence of Mr Dinesh Fernandopulle, an executive of DFCC Bank, together with Mr Athula and Mr Chathura who are present here on this occasion. They have been of tremendous help to us and we are indeed grateful for this strategic partnership.
We also identified the need to change our ICT platform and as result HFC purchased a fully fledged banking solution from, Ultra Data Australia Pty Limited. I wish to acknowledge the presence of The Chief Operating Officer of Ultra data, Mr Christopher Pullen who is also present here this evening.
Our commitment to our existing and future customers continues to be at the heart of our business and our relationship with them is critical to our success.
As Chairman I must also acknowledge and assure you our customers and prospective customers, of the level of professionalism that HFC will bring to its operations at all levels. We look forward to you either continuing to support your own Bank or in the case of prospective customers joining in to support your Bank. We have very experienced staff and they will be delighted to be of service to you. Remember HFC is a local Bank , any profits will remain in Fiji and will be chanelled to Fijians through the FNPF and Unit Trust of Fiji. Our products and services will offer flexibility to suit your financial needs and will be very competitive in the market.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to the Hon. Prime Minister and his Government, our shareholders (FNPF & Unit Trust) , The DFCC Bank of Sri Lanka which is a fast growing institution in terms of the business volumes and physical expansion through distribution outlets with a total of 132 branches and staff in excess of 1,300 and all our business partners, customers and other stakeholders for their valuable support and confidence in HFC.
At this stage I would like to extend a warm welcome to our visitors from Vanuatu, the board members of Vanuatu Provident Fund, Mr Tukana Bavoro and Mr Albert William, together with CEO, Mr Santos Vatoko.
Finally, I would like to thank my fellow Board members for the support they have accorded me and the company as a whole, the CEO, Management and staff for their dedication and hard work leading up to this evening’s launch Today is another milestone in our journey of HFC and I am certain that there will be other journeys as we progress. To our Chief Guest The Hon Prime Minster may I once again extend my sincere thanks and appreciation of your presence here with us this evening.
Have a pleasant evening all.