31 May 2011

PNG's Nationwide Microbank Signs Up 100,000th Customer

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Papua New Guinea's (PNG) Nationwide Microbank has signed up its 100,000th customer, highlighting the ongoing demand for quality and accessible banking services in the country.

The landmark bank account was opened by Tommie Seriate, a 49-year-old widow and mother of four from the Unggai Bena District of the Eastern Highlands Province.

"I am so happy and glad that I made the right decision to open an account with Nationwide Microbank," said Ms Seriate. "They made it so simple to open a savings account."

To make a living, Ms Seriate operates a small coffee garden in a remote part of the Eastern Highlands Province, some two hours by road north of Goroka, the provincial capital. She had previously tried to open a bank account with two commercial banks without success.

Nationwide Microbank (formerly Wau Microbank) was established in 2004 as a pilot scheme under the ADB Microfinance and Employment Project. The project was implemented between 2002 and 2010 with a $9.6 million concessional loan from ADB to the Government of PNG and a grant from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). It laid the foundation of a growing microfinance sector in PNG, through extensive training of staff and the development of appropriate products.