Thursday, February 07, 2013

ANZ to help push financial inclusion goal in PNG

Source: The National,Wednesday, February 6, 2013 
ANZ bank chief executive officer Mike Smith has assured Treasurer Don Polye that the bank will assist Papua New Guinea in areas of “financial inclusion” and “financial literacy”.
He gave the assurance in a remark at a breakfast meeting of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday.
Polye said his department and the Bank of PNG was going out in a big way to promote financial inclusion at grassroots level and asked if ANZ had any policies in this area.
“I think it’s a very important point,” Smith said,
“Certainly, ANZ wishes to continue to invest in Papua New Guinea.
“I think it’s absolutely right that financial inclusion should be a high priority for the country.
“I think the issue is how fast it can effectively be created, how you can bring banking products and banking services to the wider population.
“That, of course, is helped enormously by technology.
“I think if you had asked if this was possible 20 years ago when banks relied enormously on branch networks, it was a much more difficult thing to do.”
Smith said the other important thing, one in which ANZ had played a part in a number of countries, was the whole issue of financial literacy.
“I think the opportunity you have in this country (to promote financial literacy) is quite extraordinary,” he said.
“I think it has to be based on the whole education system.
“As a bank in Papua New Guinea, we will certainly take our role seriously and help you with that process.”
 The POMCCI, meantime, has welcomed Smith’s positive outlook on PNG.
“Your presentations have always been thought-provoking, certainly they’ve always been positive,” vice-president Ken Dunn told Smith.
“The business community appreciates the interest that ANZ is showing in Papua New Guinea and the effort you put into improving your banking system.”

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