Samoa’s banking woes

November 12, 2015

MORE than a third of Samoan adults are excluded entirely from financial services and only about 39 per cent of Samoan adults have a bank account.

The Financial Services Demand Side Survey Report for Samoa data provided by the central bank in Samoa highlights financial services used by Samoans, especially by low-income households, and the extent of financial inclusion in Samoa.

This data will hopefully help stakeholders monitor the growth of financial inclusion, as well as contribute towards policy making to expand financial inclusion in Samoa.

“Interestingly, more adult women are financially included than men, which may be driven by the higher proportion of women receiving remittance income,” said the governor of the Central Bank of Samoa, Maiava Atalina Ainuu-Enari in a statement.

The survey, the statement said, affirmed that Samoans received a high proportion of foreign remittances, but more than two-thirds were used to cover personal expenses. The report also highlighted that the poor and youth in Samoa had yet to be reached by formal financial services, keeping them out of the formal system.

It said research revealed other barriers to financial inclusion, such as distance to banking services, and high minimum account balance requirements, which contributed to a high overall transaction cost of maintaining a formal bank account.

“These challenges hold especially true for rural Samoans,” it said.