Dear Editor – I refer to an article in your paper of 19 August 2014 in which Peter Boso questioned the credibility of POB and whether or not the CBSI had done a thorough work in the application process.
I would like to encourage Mr Boso to read the CBSI Governor, Denton Rarawa’s speech of the POB Grand Opening on 11 July 2014.
The speech is available on the CBSI website.
I don’t need to go into the details, but the speech summed up most of the questions asked by Mr Boso.
I have no doubt that the CBSI would have done a Due Diligence check on POB over a 12 months period, and that the banking requirements and conditions would have been met prior to issuing a full banking licence.
As far as I am concerned, the best thing that the NCRA Government had ever done for the people of this country, was to be able to amend the Financial Institutions Act to allow flexibility in the licensing procedures to enable financial institutions such as the POB to come into the country.
Both the CBSI and the Government would have done their research and analysis and found that the current commercial banks are not serving the people well.
The way it looked, the banks’ existence is only to service the rich and the famous. What about the small people like you and me?
We need a people’s bank, a bank that recognises and gives credit access to the ordinary, disadvantaged and the small people.
I believe that the Government and the people of this country must have been so fed up with the three commercial banks inflexibility, let alone their poor customer services. Over the recent years, the 3 commercial banks have become very difficult institutions to deal with.
Firstly, their customer service is appalling. You could be spending your previous time standing in a queue for upto 2 to 3 hours.
The Bank Managers probably have no idea of what the long queues look like, because if they had known, they would have done something about it. Or are they so comfortable in their air-con offices that they do not bother to come out to see for themselves?
Seriously, this is not good enough and the banks need to do something about it.
Secondly, the banks’ lending criteria have become very tough and rigid, that no ordinary, small or rural Solomon Islanders are able to meet.
Sometimes I wondered why the rich gets richer, and the poor gets poorer. It seems like the banks are here only to serve their wealthy customers. Literally, the banks have closed their doors to the very people they are here to serve.
So when the Government or CBSI opened the doors for more opportunities for the small people, what is wrong with that?
The establishment of the POB is an implication by the relevant authorities that the people of this country deserves better and needs something better than what they are currently getting.
SI needs a player to service its people well – the POB came in to do just that. I am one of those who are very grateful to see POB opening its door to Solomon Islanders.
I like the POB’s approach for the very reason that its reaches out to the very ordinary, marginalised, disadvantaged and small people of this country.
POB in a way had “removed” conventional banking practice by removing the need for strict collateral and created a banking system based on mutual trust, accountability, participation and creativity.
POB provides credit to the most disadvantaged Solomon Islanders, pipol wea oloketa nara banks no luk save long oloketa.
Credit is a cost effective weapon to fight poverty and it serves as a catalyst in the overall development of socio-economic conditions of the disadvantaged who have been kept outside the banking orbit on the ground that they do not have the means and hence not bankable.
I believe that if financial resources can be made available to the disadvantaged and small people on terms and conditions that are appropriate and reasonable, these thousands of small and disadvantaged people with their thousands of pursuits can add up to create the biggest development wonder.
Believe me or not, in five to seven years time, do a study and see how many small people have borrowed and improved their lives and moved on to do bigger things.
Lastly, who says that lending to these small people are bad and impossible. It is not an impossible proposition.
On the contrary, it gives these small people the opportunity to purchase their own tools, equipment, homes or other necessary means of production and embark on income-generating ventures which will allow them to escape from the vicious cycle of low income, low savings and low investment etc.
These small people are not idiots, they are people with plenty of resources, they just needed that small money to kick start. The banker’s confidence rests upon the will and capacity of these borrowers to succeed in their undertakings, so guys don’t let yourself down, pay up your loans to prove that small people can do it too.
To POB, please hold your head high, stay focus because Solomon Islanders are all behind you.