NBS has teamed up with Digicel Samoa to develop the next generation of cost-effective and easy to use mobile banking and remittance services for its Samoan customers. The two companies will work together to integrate Digicel’s Mobile Money platform with nbs’ banking system. This will allow customers to transfer the money they receive from family and friends via their Digicel Mobile Money wallet, into their nbs bank account. More than half of Samoan’s receive such remittances on a regular basis.
“In line with nbs’ mission to digitally enable our customers, this project will help Samoans receive money sent from family members overseas directly into their bank accounts via the Digicel Mobile Money Platform. Customers will soon have control and access over their money via their mobile phone at any time. As a Samoan owned bank, nbs understands the challenges faced by our customers to access remittances and to save away some of these remittances in a bank account. So we plan to provide digital services that will help them access and save some of their remittances income easily, as we believe our customers deserve the best,” said nbs CEO Tu'u'u Amaramo Sialaoa.
Digicel Samoa Ltd CEO, Farid Mohammed said “We are moving into the Digital World and this partnership with nbs will allow Digicel to bring to its customers another innovative service. This will be a first for the
Pacific region where customers will be able to transfer funds between their Mobile Money Wallet and their Bank Account. This will provide the customers a much more efficient and convenient way of receiving, withdrawing and saving their remittances.”
Using an Innovation Lab model, the project will research and test the viability of a digital platform and mobile money cash merchant network. This will help determine what combination of products, price, customer experience, marketing, and engagement will drive usage and build the components of a successful financial service delivery model. Over a period of 18 months, the Innovation Lab will also look to develop banking payment products, such as prepaid power, airtime top-up and payment for government services which it is hoped that over time, could improve the adoption and use of digital financial services in Samoa.
The Digital Wallet Project is being funded with assistance from the United Nations Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), which aims to improve the adoption and usage of digital financial services in Samoa.
PFIP’s Programme Manager Bram Peters said that the new service will not only allow Digicel customers to have a bank account, but will also motivate them to save and for nbs customers to use digital channels to improve their financial lives.
The Digital Wallet Project is an excellent example of a collaborative approach to bring new generation digital financial products to the Pacific, with nbs playing a leading role in making this happen for the benefit of its customers.
Recently nbs carried out a survey of a random cross section of its current customers with the assistance of a New Zealand company. The results not only surpassed nbs staff and management’s expectation, but clearly demonstrated nbs is on the right track as it seeks to enhance its customers’ experience.
What came through loud and clear in the feedback provided, is the important role nbs’ branches play in the lives of its Samoan customers. They are more than just a facility to do their banking, the branches are a social hotspot where customers run into friends and family.
A third of survey respondents indicated they visit the nbs Apia branch either daily or weekly, whilst a similar number also visit their local nbs branch with the same frequency. This may well explain the reason a quarter of respondents indicated they have never used internet banking – however this could also be because they do not understand the full benefits of “mobile banking”….and of course even if they adopt mobile banking they are still welcome to pop into a nbs branch at any time!
Given the extraordinary growth the bank has had over recent years, it was not a surprise when nearly the respondents indicated they had only been with the bank for less than 5 years.
Three quarters of respondents felt nbs’ offered them all the products and services required to meet their needs, with a similar high proportion believing nbs was more than competitive compared to the other banks in Samoa. However most importantly nearly all the respondents (98%) indicated they felt valued as a customer by nbs. This was reciprocated to a degree with customers believing staff and management put into practice the bank’s values (Teamwork, Customer First, Integrity – Taualoa, and Courage – Loto Tele).
Respondents were full of praise for nbs’ staff product knowledge, helpfulness, presentation, professionalism, and importantly – they listen and understand.
When asked to rate nbs’ overall performance, 95% gave them either a 4 or 5 out of 5 – a great result. Despite the pleasing feedback, nbs management continue to plan and explore ways of how they can continue to improve the experience for their customers.
nbs has entered into a Service Agreement with Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) which will assist nbs bring digital financial services to Samoa, aimed at improving the customer value proposition and enhancing the banking and payments eco-system in Samoa.
The PFIP aims to help low-income Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves this by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, and empowering consumers. It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.
The timing of this new partnership between nbs and PFIP is ideal, as nbs increases it focus on digital banking channels . nbs will be using the financial assistance provided by PFIP to develop digital platforms capable of hosting a range of products and services. These new digital platforms will also enhance product innovation and financial services.
Its also great news for nbs customers who will benefit through an improved customer experience and, ultimately, greater adoption of financial services.
The National Bank of Samoa has launched a new innovative savings product – Samoa Super $aver (“SS$”). SS$ is a product designed to assist customers build a savings culture by offering a “loyalty incentive”.
Chief Executive Officer Tu'u'u Amaramo Sialaoa explains the features of its new savings product Samoa Super $aver
Chief Executive Officer , Tu’u’u Amaramo Sialaoa commented “We aspire to be a good corporate citizen and do what we can to help our community and the Samoan economy. We have a number of new goals and strategies to assist our customers. One of our goals is to offer a sustainable return for depositors” Sialaoa said.
"We also want to facilitate a positive change in Samoans attitude and approach to saving and we have been looking at developing some new products to help achieve this" Sialaoa commented, "we see these as part of our social responsibility obligations" One such product is the new “Samoa Super $aver”. “This product is built around an incentive being offered to customer to save and not withdraw and spend from their SS$ account” Sialaoa explained.
Sialaoa added “Just like coffee shops and other food outlets provide a reward for loyalty, we are offering the same for good savers. If customers make at least one deposit into their SS$ account per month but don’t withdraw any money from that account for that month, then we’ll pay them a 50% premium on their interest rate for each month they achieve this”.
Xero is the latest cloud based accounting software designed for small to medium businesses. nbs has been working with local accountants to put in place the requirements to allow customers to access their bank accounts via Xero.
Jennifer Fruean, nbs Chief Financial Officer believes providing its customers with on line access to their bank accounts will be a game changer for many of its business customers. “It’ll allow much quicker processing of accounts in areas such as bank reconciliation and hence more timely and accurate information. This in turn will assist customers’ decision making” she said.
“By connecting to their bank accounts via Xero, customers or their accountants can import bank statements and categorised them automatically. Bank statement line items from their bank accounts can be matched with transactions created in Xero and reconciled. It’s effortless for customers to keep their accounts accurate and up to date” Fruean explained.
"As explained via the Xero website, once the customer’s bank is connected to the cloud ledger then every morning their data flows to Xero, where it can be seen by both the customer and their accountant (if they wish). Seamless connectivity means customers can keep their data current without data entry – all they need to do is code their transactions” Fruean said. “It’s overseeing the data and approval rather than data entry, which means less time and fewer errors”.
In addition, the data is auto backed up into the cloud which means customers can access their bank information/statement instantly, anytime and anywhere and thus keeps them abreast of their cashflow position on real time.
Yona Tielu, the Financial Controller for the Samoa Rugby Union, commented "we have been working closely with our accountants and nbs so we can access our bank accounts via Xero. Not only have nbs staff been great to work with, but now we are getting more timely banking data and reconciliations." Yona added "this not only saves a lot of data entry, but it reduces the opportunity of imputing errors and the information is more accessible and accurate - its great!".
Contact your nbs Client Manager or the Business Team for further details
Phone +685 26766 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Executive Officer Tu’u’u Amaramo Sialaoa announced that nbs has recently signed up as a partner of the Asian Development Bank. “We cannot underestimate the potential impact that this partnership will have both on the Bank’s customers and also the Samoan economy as a whole” he said.
Through the ADB’s Trade Finance Programme, nbs now has access to a AAA rated credit facility. The Programme is specifically designed to boost international trade, an important area for both nbs' international customers and the Samoan economy.
"This is the first time the ADB has ventured into the Pacific and we're very honoured and proud to be selected as a partner in this very important programme" Sialaoa commented.
Sialaoa explained "What this means is that we will have enhanced credit facilities available to us to provide guarantee and loan agreements for our international trading customers.
ADB has provided a $12million annual facility to support trade activity in Samoa".
Steven Beck, ADB's head of trade finance said "By extending extra financial support to companies and banks engaged in trade finance, we expect to create growth and jobs, particularly in small and mid-sized businesses". Beck further added that "the Trade Finance Programme expansion into the Pacific is supported and co-funded by the Government of Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade".
"Being selected to be a ADB partner was a coup for nbs and followed an extensive due diligence process by the ADB as well as our attendance at a training workshop run by ADB in Fiji last year" Sialaoa said. "This is another example of the respect the bank is achieving both in Samoa and overseas as it continues to evolve into an internationally recognised trading bank supporting Samoan businesses".
Contact your nbs Client Manager or the Business Team for further details
Phone +685 26766 or Email: email@example.com