Date: January 21, 2019
Source: Post Courier
Women in the informal sector can now enjoy the full services of a formal banking system.
This was made available following the official launching of the country’s first ever Women’s Micro Bank Mama Access Point last Friday in Port Moresby.
This Mama Bank Access Point is a joint project between the Women’s Micro Bank and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program.
Women’s Micro Bank Director Noel Norikgu said this project aims to reach out customers of Women in Business in Rural and semi-urban areas who are currently not able to access basic financial services.
Mr Norikgu said because of the high cost of travelling into town to do banking, money is used up along the way.
As a result he said the bank is rolling out these MAPs to help women who are living in the rural areas.
He added that this Mama Bank Access Points or MAPs will enable Women’s Micro Bank not to only offer services closer to the women in the communities but also improve sustainability of the institution by mobilisation of savings deposits to fuel all lending activities.
“This project roll out will have a long distance relationship that the bank has with the customers thus we expect to roll out these to our customers.
“At Women’s Micro bank we focus only on women. In PNG women are representing a very large portion of the informal economy than men. Women lack access to the bank, account to a savings or to get a loan.
“This project will help us bridge that gender gap and to empower women to build savings and go into business,” he said.
Mr Norikgu said the technology will be used at each mama bank will be equipped with tablets using biometric technology for customer Identification and authentication of transactions.
He said this innovative project is unique in PNG and this technology will help women’s Microbank to overcome many of the identification challenges that many banks and other financial service providers in PNG are facing especially with ID.
“We are going into biometrics using fingerprints to assist and open bank accounts and to assist in the transaction process.
“I am personally astonished with the project because Women’s Micro bank with the help of founders has set the bench mark in the micro bank industry by introducing biometric finger prints through these mama bank access points,” Norikgu said.
He also said using of biometric fingerprints is a new way of securely identifying bank customers unlike the past where many customers are using hidden names which leads to a lot of fraudulent activities.
“However, using of fingerprint identification now provides a stronger authentication for customers and bank users hence I am impressed on the technologies that will be used on the MAP project.
“Furthermore this project objective is to impact 20,000 women in the pilot phase and if proven successful will be scaled up nationwide.
We will be rolling it out in specific places where our customers are therefore we will not be rolling it out in the provinces as yet,” he said.