Subject: FT: ANZ opens branch in East Timor

ANZ opens branch in East Timor Feb 2, Australian Financial Review

Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific Editor

The ANZ Bank has opened a branch in Dili, the first full bank operation to be based in East Timor since it split from Indonesia.

The branch there is housed in a newly renovated building leased from a Darwin-based business group - "probably the best building in the country," said the ANZ Pacific general manager, Mr Bob Lyon.

East Timor comes within the bank's expanding Pacific section.

The new branch would start with two ATM machines - which at first would accept only international cards - and was fully computerised with a back-up generator.

Mr Lyon said initially much of the business was expected to be driven by the outside organisations in Timor, including the United Nations (which issued a full banking licence earlier this month, as the transitional authority in the territory) and military forces.

Mr Lyon expected the branch would otherwise conduct similar business to other Pacific branches, including trade finance, cash management and remittances.

"There's also a big demand from Australian companies active there," he said, including Telstra, which was operating Timor's telecommunications.

East Timor fitted most neatly into ANZ's islands section, he said. Its population was expected to grow, with the return of refugees, to a similar size as Fiji.

The branch in Dili is run by two Australians, an expatriate contractor and 10 Timorese.

It would offer cheque and savings accounts, term deposits, foreign exchange and import and export letters of credit.

"I expect it to grow pretty quickly," said Mr Lyon.

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