The three year Memorandum of Understanding was signed by ANZ CEO Mike Smith and Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Julie Bishop MP, at ANZ Centre in Melbourne.
“The Pacific region has significant economic potential, particularly with the growing trade and investment flows that are developing out of Asia. As the largest bank in the Pacific, we want a successful future for the region and its people, and this agreement will see a co- ordinated effort from both ANZ and the Australian Government to ensure its potential can be achieved,” Mr Smith said.
The MoU outlines priority areas for joint co-operation between ANZ and DFAT including:
- Financial inclusion, financial literacy and economic empowerment of women
- Innovative approaches to finance for small and medium sized businesses
- Exploring joint financing of infrastructure projects
- More effective and timely communication on disaster and crisis relief
Both parties’ commitment to the MoU follows a recent collaboration in the Solomon Islands, where ANZ and DFAT are partnering to extend the roll-out of mobile phone banking to people in rural areas who currently do not have access to traditional banking services.
ANZ has operated in the Pacific for 135 years and today has the most extensive banking network in the region, with a presence in 12 countries including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Guam, Kiribati, Timor Leste and New Caledonia. The bank’s 2,000 employees provide retail, commercial and institutional banking services via 53 branches, 253 ATMs and 4,456 EFTPOS terminals.
To date, 9,000 people in the Pacific have completed ANZ’s MoneyMinded financial literacy training course. This complements ANZ’s rural banking and microfinance initiatives in remote areas using mobile banking centres - part of the ‘Banking the Unbanked’ program, which has reached 80,000 people since 2004. Close to 2.5 million ANZ goMoney mobile banking transactions have been supported for 115,000 customers in the Pacific since 2013.