Guyana president wants more banking services for hinterland customers
Guyana's President David Granger is calling on banks operating there to use mobile technology to extend their services to customers, especially those in remote parts of the couuntry.
Many residents in the hinterland have to make costly overnight trips to access banking services, he said.
The lack of access lends a serious constraint to income-generation activities as well as the economic development of those regions, Granger said at the opening of the GYD$1.5 billion 12th branch of Republic Bank (Guyana ) Limited on Sunday.
"Mobile banking has proven to be very successful in improving access to financial services in many countries, he said.
The expansion and use of mobile banking in Guyana is another potential approach to provide basic financial services to riverain and hinterland areas Granger said.
"Mobile banking has the potential to vastly improve access to financial services ... by allowing financial institutions to provide services without having to invest in [buildings]," he added.
He told the ceremony that despite the increase in the number of bank branches, Guyana continues to rank behind its Caribbean Community counterparts in extending financial services.
The President quoted World Bank's statistics which showed that last year Guyana had only 8.4 commercial bank branches per 100,000 people compared to neighbouring Suriname, which had 11.1 per 100,000 people and Trinidad and Tobago 13 per 100,000.
He also said that Guyana has 17 Automated Teller Machines per 100,000 persons, compared with 41 in Trinidad and Tobago.
"These are deficiencies which we must address," he said, adding that "Guyana is the largest state in CARICOM and I feel whatever is good for business in Guyana will be good for business in the entire community."
Granger added that the "Republic Bank group has a strong presence in the Eastern Caribbean and the opening of this branch strengthens and lengthens the reach and deepens the relations with citizens, communities and countries of the Eastern Caribbean and [the] Caribbean Community as a whole."
Chairman of the board of Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited, Nigel Baptiste said the opening of the branch solidifies the bank's vision to strengthen relations with the communities between West Berbice and Georgetown.
"High among our priorities is building and solidifying our relations with the community, both as a financial services provider and supporting social development," he said.
Baptiste noted that the bank's vision for expansion is strongly aligned with trends shaping the local, regional and global economies.