4 Mar 2010

Rural banking in Pacific set to take off

12:57 pm on 4 March 2010

A banking expert with the United Nations Development Programme, Tillman Bruett, says pilot technologies extending banking services to rural areas in Pacific countries should be launched within months.

It is estimated the Pacific is the least banked region in the world with only 30 percent presently able to access financial services.

Mr Bruett, who is with the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme, says a meeting last month of staff from central banks in Pacific Island countries looked at ways to enable this access.

He says the meeting focussed on what regulatory changes might be needed to allow full use of technology such as computers and mobile phones for banking purposes.

"We will see some pilot technologies just in the next few months in a few of the Pacific Island countries. And I expect that within the next six months you'll be hearing stories about mobile phone banking services launching in the Pacific Island countries."

Tillman Bruett of the United Nations Development Programme