The National, Tuesday 3rd January 2012
THE National Development Bank has begun working toward opening its first micro-banks starting with a branch at Boroko in the National Capital District, one in Madang town and another Wewak, East Sepik province.
It had already applied for banking licence with the Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG).
“We hope to open our first branch in Boroko by middle of this year after we secure the licence from BPNG,” NDB chair-
man William Lamur said.
He said buildings for three branches were currently under construction at the cost of K15 million.
In a special submission to Agriculture Minister Sir Puka Temu last October, Lamur said 92% of PNG’s population remained un-bank – they were not saving money in any commercial banks.
“This is an estimated two million people who cannot access banking services from existing
financial institutions, sadly 100 years after the first commercial bank was established in PNG,” Lamur said.
He said for the mirco-bank to go to all provinces, NDB needed a further K50 million, “if the government desires to have micro-bank branches in all the provinces”.
“The micro bank will provide full suite of commercial, banking products including e-banking, funds transfer and other products, work is already underway,” Lamur said.
In the 2012 national budget handed down and passed by the government late last year, NDB was allocated a total of K130 million.
This followed Lamur’s submission to Sir Puka last October when he sought for K100 million from the government to recapitalise the bank.
“We only need K100 million capital injection from the government and the NDB will not need any more funding support from the government in the future,” he appealed to Sir Puka then.
“It is our hope that as our new minister, you will, on the basis of our performance to date, work hard to secure further funding for NDB in the 2012 budget so we can implement our plans to better service our clients, increase outreach and commence returning dividend payments to the government,” he said.
This would give a guarantee that the bank stood ready to deliver “super results” for the benefit of the people and all stakeholders, Lamur said.
Now, that the government had stood by its part of the bargain, the ball was in NDB’s court to deliver.
Apart from the micro-bank branches, NDB was
also planning to re-introduce the stret pasin stoa
concept which was popular during the late 1970s and mid-1980s when the then Development Bank
built shops and then assisted husband-and-wife teams to manage them until they paid off the loan and owned the business.
Lamur said the bank would also look at introducing new low interest long-term loans to finance high-impact agriculture projects and also assist village farmers with accessible credit to develop their agriculture projects.