Westpac hub showcases work to Australian delegation

Highlands

WESTPAC’s Innovation Hub in Mount Hagen hosted an official Australian parliamentary delegation this month and showcased its work on financial inclusion.
The delegates were presented bilums by Westpac staff. They also met customers and InStore merchants at a field event outside the hub.
The Masip Freezers InStore merchant, from Banz, processed deposits and withdrawals for customers. Coffee growers and smallholder famers were able to open new accounts.
The delegation was visiting PNG as part of an ongoing inter-parliamentary exchanges between PNG and Australia to strengthen and expand relationships between their two parliaments.
The group was led by Senator Ian McDonald and included Ken O’Dowd MP, Cathy O’Toole MP and Senator Kimberley Kitching.
O’Dowd, who lived in Bougainville in the 1970s, spoke fluently in Tok Pisin with staff and customers.
Manager of the Innovation Hub, Ghandi Katao, updated the delegation on the progress of their work.
“In the past, rural and remote communities in the Highlands had no access to financial services. They’ve been unable to speak to a banker, visit a branch and there’s no ATM nearby to use,” Katao said.
Westpac’s Innovation Hub opened in May to test new ideas and products to help people in rural areas improve their savings rate and security of their money.

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