Bank South Pacific (BSP) continues to make banking more accessible, with the announcement of new Agents.
Saula Family Relaytion Shop in Luanuia (Ontong Java) and Danny Shop in Sasamungga (Choiseul) are the latest addition to the bank’s branchless banking network. Establishment of this network is further evidence that BSP would go the extra mile to reach customers – even as far-flung as these provincial locations – taking banking services to their doorsteps and providing a lifeline to the communities.
Setting up the remote agencies takes a lot of planning, due to many factors including remote location and limited shipping services – and the agency at Luaniua was no exception. Much preparatory work had to be undertaken to ensure the agent was properly trained beforehand, and the agency could be launched within a short time frame.
For BSP officer Steward Ma’ahoro, establishment of the Luaniua agency involved three days of travelling. On arrival at Luaniua, the events planned for that day immediately took place, to allow Steward to board the boat on its return trip from Pelau on the next day (missing the boat would mean he would have to wait at least three weeks for the next shipping service). Fortunately all went to plan and Steward was able to consult with the House of Chiefs, conduct financial literacy education/awareness to the villagers, and then launch the agency, in time to catch the boat back to Honiara.
Ambrose Bollen Makaike, owner of Saula Family Relaytion, and the chiefs on the island are very grateful to BSP for providing them access to banking services – something they never thought would happen because of the remoteness of their islands.
“As a BSP Agent, I’m keen to assist the people of Luaniua and nearby Island of Pelau with their banking needs now that they have convenient access to basic banking services closer to home”, says Mr Makaike.
His sentiments are echoed by Danny Pitakia, owner of Danny Shop who encourages people living in and around Sasamungga to utilise the banking services on offer there instead of travelling to Taro or Gizo (these trips can be very costly for rural and remote residents).
“With Branchless Banking now established here, BSP has made it easier and more convenient for the people of Sasamungga to open accounts and do basic banking, as well as providing an avenue where women’s groups, savings groups, market vendors etc, can safely keep their savings or earnings. This is something which was not possible in the past.” said Mr Pitakia.
With the establishment of these new agents, people in these areas will now be able to make deposits, withdrawals, and open new BSP bank accounts. Customers can also register for BSP Mobile Banking via these agents.
BSP Country Manager David Anderson states that the opening of these new branchless banking agencies is part of BSP’s plan to increase its footprint in the un-serviced areas, and that BSP will continue to look for opportunities to expand its agency network throughout the country.
BSP, with the assistance and support of Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), is looking at expanding financial services throughout the country, with the objective of bringing more people under financial inclusion. BSP therefore encourages people living in and around these new agents to make use of the basic banking services now offered there.