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Banking the unbanked across the Pacific

5 June 2014

 Recognising that wealth creation is made more difficult for people living and working in remote and rural Pacific communities which lack access to banking services, Westpac Pacific is overcoming this challenge through innovative technology.

Coupled with the fact that 80% of people across the Pacific do not have a bank account, Westpac Pacific is also working to provide the best integrated financial inclusion strategy in the region, and is well on the road to achieving this.

For the past two years we have delivered our in-store banking model, a service that offers select merchants the ability to provide banking services to customers by using an EFTPOS terminal. Customers can use the terminals to make deposits, withdrawals, account balance enquiries and fund transfers.

According to Greg Pawson, General Manager Westpac Pacific, the roll-out of in-stores is ahead of schedule, with 272 facilities established by 31 March 2014.

“In-stores bring convenient banking services to more people in a cost-effective way,” Greg said.  “Saving customers money and time involved in travelling to a branch, which in some cases can take up to a day.”
 
Westpac Pacific recently launched mobile ‘banking on the go’ in the Solomon Islands, providing customers a banking solution that is complementary to going into a branch or in-store, or using an ATM or online banking. It’s another example of how we’re truly empowering customers to take control of their finances.

“We have also developed instant issue cards, allowing customers to receive their personal embossed handy-card and PIN on the spot so they can commence transacting immediately. We can’t even do this in Australia or New Zealand!” Greg said.

In addition to bridging the gap to greater banking services, Westpac Pacific continues to successfully offer a range of free financial education workshops.

More than 50,000 people across the Pacific have attended financial workshops, including more than 11,000 in the first half of 2014 alone - all part of Westpac’s vision to help their customers, communities and people to prosper and grow.