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Financial Service Providers Recognised For Innovation

Two financial service providers were honoured at the Financial Inclusion Innovation Summit held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for their contributions to furthering financial inclusion in the Pacific The
04 Sep 2017 10:50
Financial Service Providers Recognised For Innovation
Adam Downie, Westpac regional Head of Retail Banking receives the Innovation award from EU Head of Delegation in Papua New Guinea Adrien Mourgues and PFIP acting Programme Manager Krishnan Narasimhan .

Two financial service providers were honoured at the Financial Inclusion Innovation Summit held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for their contributions to furthering financial inclusion in the Pacific

The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) awarded the 2017 Reuben James Summerlin Innovation Award to joint winners the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund and Westpac Banking Corporation, Papua New Guinea (both grant recipients of PFIP).

The award was established to commemorate the memory of the late Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) Manager, Reuben Summerlin, to honour his legacy to financial inclusion in the Pacific (PFIP).

The Award is bestowed upon the outstanding PFIP financial service provider partner that has made the greatest contribution to Financial Inclusion in the Pacific for that year. Innovation can help reduce some of the challenges Pacific Islanders face in accessing financial services, particularly geographical distances in accessing the nearest physical bank branch, for example.

In presenting the award, PFIP Acting Manager Krishnan Narasimhan said that both projects, though in the infancy stages, have proven significant contributions to reaching the underserved communities in the highlands Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands respectively and the potential they hold in extending formal financial services to the rural and low-income households.

“Innovation is not confined to either public or private sector. Westpac is a prime example that even a traditional, established international bank can embrace innovative approaches and is well on its way to proving the sustainability of the business case for customer-centricity. Likewise, the state-owned Solomon Islands National Provident Fund is proving the demand for an easy to access voluntary contribution superannuation scheme. Both organisations deserve acknowledgement for the potential impact they have on financial inclusion in the Pacific region,” said Mr Narasimhan.

The awards were received by Westpac’s Regional Head of Retail, Adam Downie and SINPF’s Assistant Manager Member and Employee Services, Wilson Hano respectively.

 

Citation for the SINPF Award

The Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) received the award based on the early results of their structured approach to developing a micro pension product for voluntary contributors to the national superannuation fund.  This product has potential for extensive scale-up to serve the self-employed sector.

Despite its infancy, the ”youSave” product has clearly demonstrated client-centric product design, a targeted focus in reaching underserved segments of the population, especially women, and has paved the way to take superannuation and possible micro pension benefits to scale across the Pacific region.

The youSave product is a clear example of client-centric product design, with features specifically tailored to meet the retirement saving needs of the target customer group: self-employed and informal sector workers, often adults, particularly women and rural dwellers, who are vulnerable, under-served and under-banked. The product was launched in May but has already signed up over 600 customers, with the most active members having saved 11 times.

Citation for Westpac PNG Award

An equally important example of innovation in financial services is the specially set up Westpac’s PNG Highlands Innovation Hub. The project was set up to design, test and validate a commercially scalable model for providing financial services to low-income populations in PNG, particularly targeting the Highlands region, women and smallholder farmers. The project is developing financial services that inspire PNG Highlanders to use the services to manage and improve their daily financial lives.

The design approach being used has already successfully revamped Westpac PNG’s entire customer on-boarding experience, with a human-centred design approach to development of the new Choice Wantok product and merchant network providing accessibility.

 

SOURCE: PACIFIC FINANCIAL INCLUSION PROGRAMME

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