What is Rural Banking?
ANZ Fiji's Rural Banking is a mobile banking service designed to bring banking to the most remote and rural communities of Fiji. Currently we have mobile banking units in Suva, Nausori, Sigatoka, Ba, Labasa and Savusavu.
Each month our Rural Banking service interacts with and creates relationships with over 200 communities and over 100 schools around Fiji. With each visit, our rural banking team brings a full range of ANZ banking products as well as specially designed Rural Banking products to the community doorstep.
The program aims to educate and promote a savings culture within the rural communities, so that individuals are able to borrow via micro-loans to create new economic opportunities for themselves and their families.
Financial literacy and access to financial services enables the community to become financially empowered, giving them the ability to better their economic circumstances with their own money and build a sustainable livelihood. This empowerment builds self esteem and increases community pride.
Our goal is to promote financial literacy for everyone, to help enrich their lives, villages, and communities.
History of Rural Banking
Rural Banking in Fiji launched in October 2004 as part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) push for financial literacy across the Pacific region. This program is underpinned by ANZ's belief that financial literacy will enable people to make informed decisions about their money, plan for a better future, and create sustainable livelihoods.
The ANZ Rural Banking program reached 40,000 new customers in the first 12 months. The total deposits received from these previously unbanked customers were approximately FJD $2.3 million, an average of FJD $57.50 savings deposit per customer1.
Why bank the unbanked?
Banking the unbanked provides ANZ with a unique opportunity to provide financial empowerment to rural communities as well as tap into an otherwise overlooked potential customer base.
By building effective partnerships with organisations such as the UNDP, creating low cost distribution channels, and designing specialised Rural Banking products, we are able to make banking outreach cost effective1. In return, we believe that investing in our country's rural customers will foster more economically vibrant and financially prosperous communities across Fiji.
As a leading bank in the Pacific region, we are interested in the long term sustainability and economic viability of where we do business. Through the Rural Banking program, we are able to contribute to this objective.
To date, ANZ's Rural Banking in Fiji has grown to over FJD $8 million in deposits in just under four years, with total lending exceeding FJD $1 million. Our six Rural Banking teams are servicing several Fijian towns on the main islands, with outreach also extending to two more remote islands of Kadavu and Taveuni. We remain committed to Rural Banking in Fiji and are continuously striving to make this program sustainable to ensure future continuation.
1 Source: Carolyn Blacklock, "Banking the Un-banked but Bankable in Asia Pacific", http://rbec.undp.org/WaterWiki/index.php/Banking_the_Unbanked_in_Fiji:_ The_ANZ_Bank_and_UNDP Partnership (2006).