“Get to really know and keep your customers and accord them the respect they deserve no matter who they are or where they come from,” says Danny Koka who heads the Koki branch of PNG Microfinance Limited (PML) as the branch manager.
From humble beginnings as a lending officer with PML, his approach to customers has always been his winning ticket. He believes that the secret to his rise within the organisation and PML’s growth as a whole is reflective of the organisation’s focus on their clients where they maintain that ‘every customer is special’.
One satisfied PML client is Elizabeth Tongia. She has been banking with PML for well over two years now and has nothing but praise for PML. As an unemployed mother and an entrepreneur within the informal sector, getting a loan from the established commercial banks was simply out of the question. Starting with an initial loan amount of K300, she sold goods at the markets and within two years has managed to purchase a small car which is currently running on the road with a Taxi plate.
“Pikinini, taim Danny yah, bikpla boss man blo PML yet ikam daun lo level blo mi na kolim mi ‘Mama’ na helpim mi wantaim loun blo mi na helpim mi lo baim kar na givim advais tu lo hau lo baim kar na putim lo rot, em winim lewa blo mi stret,” says Mrs Tongia. (“When Danny (Koka), the manager himself came down to my level to see me and even attended to my loan queries and helped me with advice on getting a vehicle on the road, it was something special. He won over my heart.”)
Mrs Tongia’s story is one of many similar success stories through the innovative approach of PML and its team of hard working people like Mr Koka. With a client base from the largely marginalised informal sector, they work on understanding their clients’ needs better by going out of their way to build confidence and trust while providing financial services to them.
This was even noted by IFC’s Executive Vice President and CEO, Mr Lars Thunell who, while in PNG to sign the agreement for an IFC country office, paid a courtesy visit to PML’s Koki branch on Thursday 3rd February, 2011. He met with PML management, staff and beneficiaries to get a firsthand look at PML.
Established as a financial institution in 2004 under the sponsorship of the PNG Sustainable Development Program Limited (48%) and the International Finance Corporation (19%), PML’s main focus is on micro and small business lending, targeting the ‘grassroots’ market and especially the rural sector with services taylored to clients’ needs. As of June 30, 2010, PML has grown to include 2,507 active loans and 63,677 active deposit accounts, valuing to a total of US$13.61 million*.
IFC has a hand in the PML picture by providing advice and management support. This has seen the introduction of reduced administrative costs, increased revenues, and reduced provision for loan defaults, thus helping PNG Microfinance Limited in achieving greater financial sustainability.
PML has without doubt given ordinary Papua New Guineans, especially the grass root entrepreneurs, who otherwise would not have access to financial services a chance to both save and borrow to help them in their various small scale business ventures.
With branches mainly in the southern region, the time is now ripe for them to open up branches in other centres of PNG to help more small scale business man and women of Papua New Guinea realise their dreams.
*IFC is the largest development institution of the World Bank Group and is focused on the private sector of developing countries of the world. All figures quoted are from IFC’s factsheet on PNG Microfinance. You can obtain more information from their website at www.ifc.org
A note for the readers:
I am not one to write exaltations and praise for any corporate entity – much less banks for that matter (My K100 take on BSP’s fees hike). However, any organisation that positively impacts the lives of the everyday Papua New Guinean will always get my attention and good favour.