National Bank of Vanuatu

Country: Vanuatu

Partner: National Bank of Vanuatu

Date: June 2018 – December 2019

Grant: USD $500,000

Target: 14,000

Current Reach 4,278 (Dec 2018)



NBV has 29,700 rural customers served through its 27 branches using a legacy passbook based system. Of these only 13,300 are active customers representing only 44%, reasons for low rates of activity include lack of access, cost of travel and lack of opportunities to transact. The project is being set up primarily to address these issues, migrate in a phased manner all the customers to a digital platform, increase transaction opportunities and add 14,000 new active customers to the NBV base


The project will employ a human-centered design approach to create, test and scale services that inspire enthusiastic adoption and usage of digital financial services by Ni-Vanuatu especially those living in remote rural areas. The project has a specific component to design and test approaches that will financially empower women. The business model of NBV aspires to be commercially viable through offering a bundle of three value propositions to the customers- NBV IsiMobile, financial literacy and electronic banking interchange between all banks in Vanuatu-all components aimed at increasing adoption and usage

The project while offering basic financial services through convenient digital platforms must be viewed in the context of the stage of market development in Vanuatu. NBV is the only commercial bank having presence outside the urban centers of Port Vila and Luganville, there is limited DFS products and services available to clients in the market and the revised National Financial Inclusion strategy is in place only now giving a renewed focus to bank the unbanked in the country.



Using a hub and spoke model, NBV will initially target 5 small branches linked to 5 larger branches in the following locations:

  • Port Vila and Emua (Efate)
  • Luganville and Port Olry (Espirito Santo)
  • Lenakel and White Sands(Tanna)
  • Lakatoro and Lamap (Malekula)
  1. Provide training for staff at each of the above branches with regards to electronic & mobile delivery channels offered by the Bank.
  2. Convert existing passbooks to accounts that can be serviced by electronic & mobile delivery channels.
  3. Attract new bank customers and open new accounts that can be serviced by electronic & mobile delivery channels.
  4. Implement Financial Literacy education, focusing on electronic & mobile delivery channels and opportunities to transact.
  5. Conduct consultation meetings with villages, agriculture-sector participants (growers, buyers, exporters), and public servants. Discuss the range of “Opportunities to Transact”.  Actively facilitate customers to utilize these “opportunities to transact”.
  6. Open accounts, issue debit cards, subscribe to mobile banking and SMS Transaction Alerts, etc.
  7. Identify lending opportunities and increase the microfinance loan portfolio.

As a support to this project, NBV will also install ATMs at Emua, Port Olry, Lenakel, Lakatoro and Saratamata branches using its own funds.

NBV microfinance officers from the branches travel to the communities covered by their branch regularly to facilitate customer transactions. This will now be migrated to electronic and digital channels and transactions will take place in ‘’real-time’’. There will be no need for the customers to travel long distances to visit NBV branches to get their passbooks updated and instead they will be able to get their account balance and transaction information through mobile phones. The tablet based transaction platform can work in both on-line and off-line modes thereby capable of being deployed in areas that have limited or no network coverage. The tablet is also equipped with a EFTPOS card reader that is used for transactions.

As the project progresses, NBV project team will prepare a national IsiMobile rollout strategy, including:

  1. Summarize lessons learnt during initial deployment, develop national roll-out strategy and implement
  2. Prepare reporting and analysis tools so that project outcomes can be readily tracked and reported.
  3. Prepare all necessary collaterals to support rollout of IsiMobile around the country and produce the same in the necessary quantities.
  4. Install ATMs at Saratamata (Ambae), Lakatoro (Malekula), Emua (Efate) and Lenakel (Tanna).
  5. Develop a rollout schedule and implement the rollout of IsiMobile around the country.


About NBV

The National Bank of Vanuatu is the only commercial bank in Vanuatu that also operates outside of Port Vila and Luganville. Through its network of 27 branches and agencies, NBV offers a comprehensive range of services in Business, Retail, Rural, International, Treasury and Investment Banking.
NBV plays a key role in the economic development of the country and its people.
National Bank of Vanuatu has three shareholders – the Government of Vanuatu (70%), Vanuatu National Provident Fund (15%) and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank (15%).