He said during the opening of a two-day consumer protection and market conduct workshop for financial services in Port Moresby that technology had brought relief to a struggling financial system.
“The number of banks branches and agents network in most provinces have diminished significantly since independence,” he said.
He attributed the decline to law and order issues, poor or deteriorating infrastructure such as roads, bridges, electricity, and the high cost of operating branches and agencies.
“The rugged geographical terrains which at one stage were barriers to the expansion of bank branches and agent network which curtailed banking services is no longer seen as a threat.
Instead branchless banking concepts have now begun to make inroads,” Pidik said.
“Financial institutions including Telco companies are using appropriate electronic banking methods tailored to meet the demand for consumers of financial services through branchless banking concepts.
“Essentially, the traditional brick and mortar concept for bank branch and agent expansion will be limited to urban centres but mainstream Papua New Guineans living in the rural areas stand to benefit from branchless banking rollouts by the financial institutions.”
He said the development of the national payment system and its enabling legislation supported the provision of banking and financial services ensuring a safer, more efficient and real time settlement of financial transaction.
“The new system has real time gross settlement for high value payments (Kina Automated Transfer System - KATS), cheque transactions and direct credits,” Pidik said.
“It is also expected that the development of a national switch will enable interconnectivity and non-exclusivity, create a fair level playing field, and enable smaller institutions to become members of the national payments system to maximise benefits.”The National