Ton Ricketts – HFC Board Chairman – HFC Agency Banking Pilot Launch

September 29, 2017

Mr. Ronal Prasad –Acting CEO Vodafone Fiji

Fellow Board Members, Acting CEO, Management, Staff of HFC Bank

Representatives from PFIP, ADB, IFC and the Reserve Bank of Fiji

Management and staff of Vodafone Fiji and Newman

Invited Guests

Members of the media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Bula Vinaka to you all

 

INTRODUCTION

I am excited to be here today for the launch of the Pilot phase of HFC Bank Agency Banking, a project that we have been working on for the past two years. This service is a milestone in expanding financial services inclusion and reach in Fiji.

The HFC Bank Agency Banking model is a partnership between HFC Bank, Vodafone Fiji and Newman. With the launch of Agency Banking, customers will have convenient access to banking services from various Agent Outlets.

Ladies and Gentlemen, today we are launching the Pilot phase of this great service. This Agency Banking model takes a leap forward in the way financial services are offered in Fiji, we, being Fiji’s only local bank, are proud to be at the forefront and the first in Fiji to bring this service to our people.  Rural, semi urban and unbanked customers will be able to open and maintain a bank account from their neighborhood convenience stores which are Vodafone retail outlets, once this project is fully commissioned.

The service will be rolled out in the Central Division first. The Vodafone MHCC store, Vodafone Damodar City and Valuefone Nausori stores will start offering this service from today. Incrementally we will roll this in more stores in the Central Division and in the Western and Northern Division by December this year, as a first phase.

In the second phase by January next year, HFC Bank agents will also be able to facilitate account opening and accept loan applications (for Personal, Car, Home and even Micro Finance Loans).

By the middle of next year, HFC Bank will be able to expand its banking network to more outlets and over 1,000 Vodafone POS terminals Fiji wide. This means that at every outlet where a Vodafone recharge POS terminal is available,  our   customers  will be able to perform card based transactions such as deposits, withdrawals, transfers, instore purchases, bill payments and mobile top-ups.

This project has been made possible with the immense support of some key organizations whom I wish to acknowledge and thank today.

Firstly, the UNCDF via its Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme for providing the much needed funding assistance of $1.2M FJD for this project. We also thank the Reserve Bank of Fiji for their regulatory guidance on Agent Banking Guidelines, and our joint implementing partners, Vodafone Fiji and Newman for the communications infrastructure required to run the Agency Banking Service.

Our Partnership is an opportunity to satisfy the needs of our customers and also a positive collaboration in combining our respective fields of business expertise to bank the unbanked in Fiji,

I wish to congratulate the Management, staff and the technical teams of HFC Bank and Vodafone who have worked tirelessly (early mornings) to ensure the successful integration of our systems. Without you, this would not be possible. With these words I am happy to launch the pilot phase of our Agency Banking in Fiji.

I wish you all the best and a great day ahead.

Vinaka