12 Jul 2007

Village banking being introduced in the outer islands of Marshall Islands

3:33 pm on 12 July 2007

Village banking is being introduced in the outer islands of the Marshall Islands so people can access financial services not previously available.

The chief executive officer of the Bank of Marshall Islands, Patrick Chen, says representatives are being appointed on the islands of Jaluit and Arno, among others.

The introduction of the village banking services comes at the same time as the expansion of the micro-credit scheme where individuals are encouraged to apply for small loans to kick start businesses.

Mr Chen says there is still money available in the Taiwan-funded scheme so they are expanding their operations to the outer islands.

"They don't have enough jobs there so we're looking to the village and we're also, the Bank of Marshall Islands, is also going in there to do the village bank. So, we're going to the remote village, not only to do the micro-loan, but also we do the banking service there, for example, deposits, withdrawal, micro loan, and wire transfers."

Mr Chen says they are also looking at introducing eco-tourism to the outer islands but that may take a couple of years to get off the ground.