News Item

Long-term solutions crucial for Pacific families sending remittances

News 28 Sep 2020

ANZ's announcement to temporarily waive its international money transfer fee to Pacific island countries is a solution all banks should implement, says Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) Board Chair Fiso John Fiso.

"Given the situation with COVID-19, the announcement made by ANZ is a sigh of relief for Pacific families here in New Zealand who often send money to their relatives back in the Pacific region," Mr. Fiso said.

"The announcement should also signal to other banks to follow suit.

"ANZ has given Pacific peoples the confidence to engage with their services. However, while the fee waiver will only be in place for six months, we need long-term solutions."

Mr. Fiso says PCF is already leading discussions with stakeholders regarding remittances through its meetings with NZ Banking Ombudsman, Nicola Sladden and Chair of the Transparency International New Zealand Board, Suzanne Snively.

ANZ's Regional Executive for the Pacific, Tessa Price said removing the fee will help boost the Pacific economies by encouraging people to go online and send money quickly and cheaply to their family and friends.

"Money sent home by family and friends is a stable source of income for many Pacific families. In some cases, it can be up to 25 per cent of a household's disposable income," Ms. Price said.

"So, it's really important that we keep costs as low as possible, especially given the economic conditions here in the Pacific which are tough due to COVID-19 and the impact it has had on tourism."

ANZ Pacific Economist, Kishiti Sen says no matter the circumstances, Pacific families will continue to send money home.

"Going forward, as some of those income support payments are wound back, you will probably see a pullback in remittance flows to the Pacific over the next four months of this year," Mr. Sen said.

"However, Melanesian and Polynesian culture is such that you look after your family and friends therefore people will still be sending money."

PCF and other stakeholders are committed to finding a long-term solution for remittances.

Image one: PCF Board Chair Fiso John Fiso with Suzanne Snively, Chair of the Transparency International New Zealand Board, Suzanne Snively.

Image two: NZ Banking Ombudsman, Nicola Sladden