Access to Finance - June 2020

June 2020
  Jun 20 Dec 19 Jun 19*

Total Access Points1 951 913 977

NUmber of Branches 73 66 71
Number of Agents^ 332 330 328
Number of EFTPOS 537 492 550
Number of ATM 27 25 28

Source: Banks & Non-Banks
* - Commencement collecting Non-Banks data
^ - Agents are any third party acting on behalf of a bank to deal directly with customers. E.g. retails stores, etc.
1 - Including Non-Banks access points

The Reserve Bank continues to encourage financial inclusion to promote inclusive economic growth and macroeconomic stability through the financial inclusion’s key objectives in enhancing and monitoring the access and usage of financial products by individuals.

Access indicators slightly fall over the year

Over the year ended June 2020, the number of cash in and cash out access point indicators showed a slight decline compared to the same period of last year. These cash in and cash out access points consists of banks and non-bank branches and agents, as well as banks EFTPOS and ATMs. The slight decline in the cash in and cash out facilities was mainly due to the fall in the number of banks’ EFTPOS terminals (refer Table 1 below).

Table 1: Access Point per 10,000 adults - Banks and Non-Banks

Indicators 2020 20192 2018 20151

Number of cash-in and cash-out access points per 10,000 adults3 151 152 95 32
Number of brances per 10,000 adults 11 11 3 2
Number of ATMs per 10,000 adults 4 4 4 1
Number of EFTPOS per 10,000 adults 84 86 84 26
Number of Agents per 10,000 adults 52 51 4 3

Source: Banks & Non-Banks
1 - Tonga's financial inclusion benchmark
2 - Commencement collecting Non-Banks data
3 - Total access points include Non-Bank access points

In terms of constituency, the total number of access points declined owing mainly to a fall in the total number of EFTPOS, particularly in Vava’u 15 and Tongatapu 1. According to the banks, the EFTPOS terminals in these constituencies were recalled from merchants that were inactive. This is to minimise the operational cost for both the bank and the inactive merchants. The inactive status of these merchants is related to the impact of COVID-19 and the fall in aggregate demand especially with businesses in these two constituencies are considered the Central Business Districts (Nuku’alofa and Neiafu) in Tonga and Vava'u.

Despite the decline in the number of EFTPOS terminals, the number of branches and agents increased (refer to Annex 1). The rise in the number of agents reflects the banks' efforts to achieve their corporate target on increasing its footprints in remote & rural areas (refer to Annex 2).

The number of Non-Banks access points slightly increased (refer to Annex 3). The rise in the number of branches reflects the entrance of a new foreign exchange dealer into the market who also opened agents and branches in the outer islands. SPBD, the only licensed microfinance company, remained the Non-Bank financial institution with the highest access points, compared to other non-bank financial institutions over the year. This is consistent with the ongoing activities and services carried out by SPBD to their members throughout Tonga except for the two Niuas.

Usage indicators showed an increase

The usage indicators showed an increase over the year. This is mainly due to the rise in both the total number of individual deposit and individual loan accounts (refer to Table 3). Bank customers mainly drove the increase, with customers preferring direct deposits of remittances to their bank account to access the ATMs or EFTPOS machines. This preference is also to comply with COVID-19 social distancing requirements. Furthermore, new customer’s accounts were opened to receive government financial assistance through the COVID-19 Economic Stimulus package. Also, the rise in the total individual number of loan accounts was due to one of the banks’ loan campaign called “Toutai Campaign”. This loan campaign offered customers a 50% discount on the loan establishment fees.

Table 3: Usage of financial services indicators - Banks

Indicators 2020 2019 20162 20151

Number of regulated deposit accounts per 10,000 adults 14,096 13,353 10,916 5,604
Number of regulated credit accounts per 10,000 adults 1,342 1,258 1,588 521

Source: Banks
1 - Tonga's financial inclusion benchmark
2 - Adult populations (15yrs old+) - 64,076 - Census Report 2016

Conclusion

Tonga’s access to financial services showed a mixed outcome over the year to June 2020, with an increase in usage of the financial services whilst the access to financial services slightly declined. The rise in the usage of financial services indicates a change in financial consumer behaviour in opting for greater flexibility and options on selecting access points and financial services that best meet their needs due to the impact of COVID-19. Furthermore, there is a shift now to using digital means by direct transfers to accounts and usage of ATMs instead of over the counter transactions. The Reserve Bank will continue to liaise with the banks and non-banks to address the data collection challenges to generate a more comprehensive picture of the individual access to financial services in Tonga. The Reserve Bank will also continue to work closely with the banks in terms of monitoring the level of financial inclusion in Tonga to enhance access and usage of financial products by individuals.


Annex 1: Summary of Banks & Non-Banks Access Points by Constituency

Annex 2: Summary of the Type of Access Points in Tonga by Banks

Annex 3: Summary of the Type of Access Points in Tonga by Non-Banks

 

 


Enquiries

Financial Access Department
National Reserve Bank of Tonga
NUKU'ALOFA

Telephone: (676) 24057
Fax: (676) 24201 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Access to Finance Report Releases


pdfIcon Access To Finance - June 2020
Released on 7 September 2020 | 152 KB

pdfIcon Access To Finance - June 2018
Released on 30 July 2019 | 120 KB

pdfIcon Access To Finance - June 2017
Released on 15 August 2018 | 140 KB 

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