Newly established commercial bank Pan Oceanic Bank (POB) was surprised with the overwhelming response from the public since opening up its doors fortnight ago.
Speaking in an interview with the Solomon Star yesterday at the bank’s head office located at Hyundai Mall, the bank’s chief executive officer (CEO) Nihal Kekulawala said they did not expect such a huge response from the public.
“We did not expect such an overwhelming response from the public who turned up in huge numbers each day to register. Over the past few days we have been receiving more and more customers turning up to open a new account and apply for loan.”
The CEO said as a bank incorporated in Solomon Island they want to serve and offer the people of Solomon Islands the best banking service as much as possible.
He said the bank kicked off its operations about two weeks ago on 11th July after receiving its full license on the 22nd April this year.
And for the past three months, the bank had been working had to ensure the bank kicked off without much difficulty on 11th July.
He said since the first week, there had been customers signing up for the bank each day and the number is growing
Mr Kekulawala said on average more than a hundred new customers are signing up for the bank each day for the past two weeks to open up an account and getting new loans.
The bank normally opens at 9am and closes off at 4pm but because of demand the bank officers usually work till 6pm or so to deal with the customers who turned to register.
He said just within the two weeks they have registered 1200 new customers and the number is expected to grow in the coming weeks as words continue to spread.
Because of public demand and lack of space, POB had to acquire a new office space at the ground floor of the Hyundai Mall which became operational as of yesterday.
The ground floor office space deals with loans application while the office space hosting the head office and the teller deals with opening of accounts, withdrawals and deposits.
Yesterday, more people are turning up to sign up for new accounts while many more are applying for loan. The National Provident Fund (NPF) office had also been busy over the past weeks to do verification of pledges for POB customers who have applied for loans.
The CEO said they want to offer a service which is flexible so that locals and have access to funds to allow them engage in some forms of business and investment activities in the country.
The bank plans to open a couple more branches to be located in east and west side of the city to cater for its customers.
Meanwhile many customers have commended the service offered by the bank so far which makes it easy for ordinary Solomon Islanders to access capital and funds.
Since day one, customers have been drawing out loans to support their families, start a new business, build their homes and support their children’s education.
One of the customers said: “I have been trying to access funds for so long and so the arrival of this new bank has fulfil my wish and I’m so thankful and excited about this new bank.”
As the positive stories about the bank continue to spread, more and more people have continued to flood the bank each day to sign up.
Plans are also underway to move into the provinces once the bank continues fully established itself.
By MOFFAT MAMU