Reports say ANZ Vava‘u branch closes as banks urged to follow ANZ lead on remittance costs reduction to Pacific


The ANZ bank in Tonga is expected to close its branch in Vava’u in two months’ time, reports said.

Neiafu Town Officer Vāvā Lapota claimed the closure process began yesterday Friday 2.

The bank could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd has temporarily removed the transfer fee for money transfers via ANZ internet banking from Australia and New Zealand to Tonga and several other Pacific Island nations.

Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) Board Chair John Fiso said all banks should do the same thing.

“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.

Mr. Fiso said PCF was talking with New Zealand 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 would 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 in the Pacific which are tough due to COVID-19 and the impact it has had on tourism.”

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

As government financial support  was reduced there would probably be a reduction in remittances during the  next four months.

This story has been updated with additional information from ANZ Bank.

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