Samoa - Banking and securities

Legislation in 1974 set up the Monetary Board to act as the central bank. The activities of the Monetary Board were taken over in May 1984 by the new Central Bank of Samoa. An Australian bank, ANZ, acquired the government's 25% stake in the Bank of Western Samoa (BWS), becoming its outright owner. The BWS is the largest bank in the country, with assets of about A$16 million (US$13 million). The government has also sold its Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) to a consortium of local businesses. The bank, to be renamed the National Bank of Samoa, is the country's first locally owned commercial bank. The other banks are Pacific Commercial Bank (owned by Westpac, the Bank of Hawaii, and local shareholders) and the Development Bank of Western Samoa.

Parliament passed legislation in early 1988 to allow the setting up of an offshore banking center. More the 1,000 companies have registered in Apia under the new tax haven legislation, contributing substantially to the national budget. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand deposits—an aggregate commonly known as M1—were equal to $24.5 million. In that same year, M2—an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual funds—was $86.6 million.

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