Find Banking and Financial Services expertise in Vanuatu
The state-owned National Bank of Vanuatu and multinationals ANZ, Westpac and Bred Bank are the only domestic commercial banks in the country. The National Bank of Vanuatu provides the most extensive retail banking operation with 21 branches spread all over Vanuatu. Vanuatu is the largest offshore haven amongst the island states of the South Pacific. International banks include the Asia Merchant, Garrison, United Investment Bank and Pacific Private Bank Limited. The island established itself in the 1970s as a successful offshore tax haven with a very liberal financial regime; the offshore financial sector contributed 12% of its GDP by the late 1980s. However, due to intense pressure from the campaign to counter money laundering by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the majority of banks closed and the economy collapsed following a long strike in the public sector.
Regulation of Financial Services
The Reserve Bank of Vanuatu, Vanuatu’s central bank, regulates the issue, supply, availability and international exchange of money in accordance with the prudential framework. It also supervises and regulates local banking business and advises the government on banking and monetary matters. Following the economic collapse of the 1980s, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) stepped in with financial support in 1997. They demanded tighter fiscal control over the financial sector. The sector was rebuilding in 2012 with around 2,000 registered institutions offering offshore banking and investment services with a mandate of increased oversight and reporting requirements monitored by the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC).
Development of Financial Services
There is a much interest in developing microfinance services in the Pacific region. In 2011 Vanuatu hosted the Pacific Microfinance Week event which is in place to promote sustainability and inclusivity in the finance sector of the region. This ethos is reflected in initiatives run by some Vanuatu banks. In 2012 there were bank-run educational programmes to teach people basic money management skills and about the microfinance services that were available. In addition to these schemes, there has been a development in online services, another important consideration in a region made up of geographically fragmented island communities. The 2012 World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index ranks Vanuatu as 9th out of 24 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region in overall ease of doing business. It ranks equally with the Solomon Islands in a strong 10th position for getting credit; when it comes to protecting investors Vanuatu comes 12th along with developed country Taiwan.
|Banking and Financial Services organisations in Vanuatu|
|National Bank of Vanuatu||
|Reserve Bank of Vanuatu||