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Operations suspended in Solomon Islands

Document date:  Mon 12 May 2003
Published:  Mon 12 May 2003 08:41:24
Document No:  204170
Document part:  A
Market Flag:  Y
Classification:  Other


HOMEX - Melbourne                                                     


ANZ today announced it had been forced to suspend banking operations
in the Solomon Islands following serious threats made to the personal
safety of the bank's staff and premises.

The closure includes ANZ's branches in Honiara, Panatina, Auki, Noro
and Gizo. These branches will remain closed until the law and order
situation in the Solomon Islands improves and the safety of staff can
be guaranteed.

ANZ deeply regrets the inconvenience the closure of its branches will
cause customers and the Solomon Islands community however banking
operations cannot continue in the current climate of lawlessness.

Although banking services are unavailable at present, all customer
funds are safe.

During the closure ANZ will centralise banking operations in
Melbourne, Australia. ANZ will be advising customers later this week
how they can access their funds while operations in the Solomon
Islands are closed.

Solomon Islands customers who need to contact the bank regarding
their accounts today can call ANZ in Australia on +61-3-9273 0796. A
toll-free number will be established in the near future.

The threats to the bank's staff and premises are associated with the
activities of the Family Charitable Fund. ANZ welcomes the recently
announced police investigation into the activities of the Fund
however the nature of the threats received are so serious that
banking operations can not continue at present.

ANZ restates its advice to the Solomon Islands community not to be
involved in anyway with this Fund. ANZ would like to confirm that
neither the bank nor any of its staff are or have ever been involved
with the Family Charitable Fund. ANZ does not hold nor is it
receiving any funds on behalf of this organisation.

For media enquiries, contact:

Paul Edwards 
Tel: +61-3-9273 6955 or +61-409-655 550 (mobile)