THE Reserve Bank of Fiji has released a Banking Supervision Policy as an agent banking guideline to support commercial banks in their delivery of financial services to unbanked communities.
The policy, which will come into effect from January 1 next year, is part of RBF's initiative and commitment to build greater financial inclusion in Fiji.
RBF governor Barry Whiteside said the policy aimed to encourage commercial banks to reach out to the under-served communities and individuals in the rural and maritime areas, with little or no access to regular banking services.
"The appointment of closely localised agents such as retail merchants or postal agencies by commercial banks to provide basic banking transactions such as cash withdrawals, deposits and payments is intended to boost and support the local economies in these rural and outlying communities," Mr Whiteside said in a statement.
He said a critical factor in the roll out of these services was the availability and reach of telecommunication and power networks as the technology used in agent banking, such as point of sale (POS) machines, were dependent on the availability of these services in these areas.
The policy provided the minimum guidelines for commercial banks when appointing agents to represent them in the rural and maritime areas, and specified the responsibilities of commercial banks and the permitted agent banking activities.
"It also provides minimum standards of risk management, customer protection and disclosure in agent banking."
The central bank expressed its appreciation to licensed commercial banks for their contribution and co-operation during the formulation and consultation stage of the policy guideline.