MICROFINANCE REACHES OUT TO NEW CUSTOMERS
With nearly 500,000 clients, Papua New Guinea’s micro finance industry is expanding its reach, its numbers and its services. There are 12 licensed finance institutions, including the People’s Micro Bank, Nationwide Microbank, PNG Microfinance, Kina Finance and the Women’s Micro Bank, which was launched in August 2014. Each provides loans, some provide banking services, and with the advent of mobile phone technology, each is expanding across the country. 'Micro-credit is increasingly becoming an important means to bridging the gap of providing access to formal banking services for the marginalised and unbanked population of the country,’ says Anthony Dela Cruz, Chief Executive Officer of the People’s Micro Bank. Mobile phone technology is allowing PNG’S largely rural dwellers access to banking services. Nationwide’s Tony Westaway says about half his account holders use mobile phone technology. ‘In the very remote locations, 80% of our new accounts are with people who’ve never banked before and they’re all banking by mobile wallet.’ Meanwhile, Kina Finance has partnered with Westpac to use its mobile banking platform for its Esiloan customers.