BPNG and Mama Bank launch “Palm Saver” investment product for Oil Palm Growers

06th September, 2021

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea – Women’s Micro Bank Limited (WMB), branded as Mama Bank in conjunction with the Bank of Papua New Guinea has created an innovative investment product for the Oil Palm Growers of West New Britain Province. The led from a Memorandum of Agreement signed between Mama Bank and the West New Britain Provincial Government to provide financial service to the province particularly the Oil Palm Grower. In association with the Provincial Government, Mama Bank inaugurated a customer access point in Kimbe recently in July 2021 which is serving the Oil Palm Growers.  

To serve the targeted customer segment, The Bank of Papua New Guinea with its technical expertise through the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion has developed a tailored savings product named “Palm Saver” successfully blending contractual savings and investment for regular income earners. The product is designed to address savings and investment needs.

The product was launched yesterday on Monday 06th September at the Mama Bank’s branch in Kimbe at the Hamamas Plaza. Present at the launching were BPNG Governor Mr. Loi Bakani, Hon. Governor Francis Maneke, Regional Member Hon. Sansindran Muthuvel, and Head of Department for Small Holder Affairs NBPOL Mr. Wilfred Tangole, OPIC, Widows Association and lus fruit mamas.

“I want to congratulate the Mama Bank for being innovative in coming up with this great investment product for the Oil Palm Growers, the Palm Saver Account. Financial behaviours of our people engaged in oil palm farming are something this product I believe will tremendously have a great impact in changing their lives and into their future wellbeing. Mr. Bakani in congratulating Mama Bank stated that this Palm Saver Account offers a very high rate of interest, hence emphasised saving money that will meet the needs of ordinary lus fruit mamas. This is an indication of the confidence all stakeholders can have in the Mama Bank to support and provide financial services to those who have no access to demand driven financial products and services.” Said BPNG Governor Mr. Loi Bakani.

In launching the product, West New Britain Governor Hon. Francis Maneke thanked Mama Bank as being a great partner for creating tailored product for his local people’s needs. “I would say that today marks the beginning of a new dimension for the people of West New Britain Province because this product will truly organize their future plans to be financially independent. I want to challenge the Oil Palm Growers to make use of this opportunity in creating a savings culture and maximise your revenue and diversity where you can rather than been stagnant at one end forever. I want to thank Mama Bank for reaching out here with this innovative investment product which will greatly help our local people particularly the Oil Palm Growers and lus fruit mamas and their families including widow mamas who are at the bottom of the pyramid to alleviate them to become active participants in changing and managing their financial life.” Said Hon. Governor Maneke.

West New Britain Governor Hon. Francis Maneke further stated that West New Britain Provincial Government is pleased to work in partnership with Mama Bank in supporting the people of West New Britain province. “This is the gateway for financial self-independence through access to finance and financial management where Mama Bank will play a very significant role in translating the aspirations of people into reality.

Hon. Sansindran Muthuvel in thanking Mama Bank acknowledged that Palm Saver offers a high rate of interest with respect to other financial institutions. Mama Bank has created an environment that is conducive with a product that will organize your revenue so come on and utilize this opportunity create your savings now, you will appreciate it changing your standard of living. “Do your bit, Government is with you, we can create many more opportunities in this province through this partnership” Said Hon. Muthuvel.   Hon Muthuvel emphasized doing business with integrity and self-reliance will bring prosperity to each and every one and the cash-flow in the province particularly in the oil palm industry can see many more SME in the province if those money is being utilized in a proper way instead of expensing in unnecessary items.  

The Head of Department – Small Holder Affairs Mr. Wilfred Tangole emphasised at the ceremony spoke about the importance of lus fruit, and the importance of working in collaboration with all stakeholders, hence encouraged oil palm farmers to maximise their lus fruits potential with this investment product as it will have impact in the savings and its relationship benefits. ‘Palm Saver’ is designed to serve a specific customer segment, oil palm growers and others associated with the industry who receive regular payments from the industry.

Mama Bank’s CEO, Mr. Gunanidhi Das while explaining the product design extend the word of thanks and appreciation to the Bank of Papua New Guinea, particularly the BPNG Governor Mr. Loi Bakani for granting us approval for this product. “We have obtained approval from Bank of Papua New Guinea to launch this product for the benefit of oil palm farmers. The product is going to give at least 6% interest rate with no transactional cost to the customer and they can save for their better future.  Said CEO Mr. Das.

The product is designed to inculcate the habit of regular savings offering high returns. There are more than 20,000 Oil Palm block holders who are paid fortnightly for their produce. Apart from growers there are more than 27,000 women (especially widows) associated with palm oil industry receiving regular payments out of which some are block owners. Mama will work in association with Widow Association, Lus Fruit Mama Association and other agencies working directly with oil palm growers to identify the prospective customers within the province. Mama Bank have opened more than 3,000 customer accounts from Kimbe in association with Widow Association and Lus Fruit Mama Association as of now. The product brochure is prepared for distribution with the required details.

The customer shall commit a fixed amount authorizing the payment provider to deduct from his/her fortnight income and deposit to customer account with Mama Bank. A customer can commit the smallest up to K20 with no upper limit. In addition to the fortnight deduction, customer can do additional deposit directly at the branch location. On maturity the customer will be given option to withdraw or roll-over to interest bearing term deposits. Interest on IBD offered by Mama Bank will be applicable. No fee will be charged for roll-over.  The product package includes Business Development Training and Financial Literacy Training as well. 

The Mama Bank’s CEO Mr. Gunanidhi Das in acknowledging the support from the BPNG and the West New Britain Provincial Government stated that Mama Bank is a family bank and we want to use the Asian Model of doing business rather than the African Model where we don’t charge hefty fees but rather we give good rate of interests on our savings products. “We want to be the first social bank in Papua New Guinea and support families through women. The BANK will be providing the opportunity to service potential 20,000 smallholder oil palm growers and their families, and by doing this, Mama Bank is pleased to carry out this responsibility in nation building.” Said Mr. Das.

About Mama Bank

Women’s Micro Bank Limited (MAMA BANK) is a licensed Micro-Bank regulated by Bank of PNG. Mama Bank formerly known as PNG Women in Business Microfinance Institute limited established in 2010. The Bank received its banking business license from Bank of PNG in May 2014. The bank is the (6th) deposit taking licensed micro bank in the world and more importantly the first women’s micro bank in PNG and the Pacific region. The bank is a subsidiary of PNG Women in Business Limited which sprang from PNG Women in Business Foundation formerly known as City Mother‘s Business Foundation, established in 2006.