With its commitment to ‘Empowering the Nation’, Pan Oceanic Bank (POB) wishes to clarify reports in the social media concerning the loan repayments and the arrears that customers are raising grievances about.
This week, the bank has been noted that a senior public servant is questioning why his fortnightly deduction was not paid, which have forced his loan repayment to transpire into arrears.
The issue steered a big debate in the social media, on the Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII) Facebook page.
Speaking on behalf of the bank in clarifying the issue, POB’s Manager Loans and Risks Priyan Fernando said the issue is something that is out of their control.
“Other commercials banks in the Solomon Islands are enjoying the automated salary transfer, which POB don’t have – where the employees’ salaries are being paid directly to the bank. So it is on time.”
“Anything that is being credited will be deducted. For POB, our loan customers were allowed to do manual repayment to their loans which is one of the hiccups that POB as a commercial bank has been facing.
“So if we sent a listing to SIG but they do not do the deduction from the public servants salaries, situations of such will have to happen. It is something that is out of our control. Here we do it manually; it is a manual loan repayment system,” Mr Fernando explains.
He said from the day that POB is incorporated as a local bank; the bank has been having discussions with the SIG to allow the automated salary transfer system to work on POB. But what they said was that the system does not have more capacity and that it has to be more investment on POB to have that automated salary remittance system.
“We came in with a very low rate. When the rates of other banks are something hitting 17%, we have POB sitting at 11.5%, so most of the personal loan customers’ want to refinance their loans to get the interest benefits.
“But our problem is, when it comes to repayment capacity, their salaries cannot be sent directly to us.”
“However, we are still trying as much as possible to have public servants’ salaries paid through to POB using the automated salary payment system.”
“We are still trying to tell the government, the ministry of finance.”
“So until such time, loan repayments will still be done manually. Therefore, when it happens manually, there is a delay and issues with the arrears come up,” says Mr Fernando.
The Manager Loans and Risks said they cannot blame the SIG for the issue but advised that any loan customer must take responsibility over his or her loan to make sure that their commitment to the bank is met.
The bank is also aware that people become frustrated when they went for additional loan, and they found out that they have arrears.
Mr Fernando admitted that the issue is happening with employees in the public sector, for the private sector there is no such experiences.
“The private sector is okay. They come and deposit in advance. They come and deposit on the due date. They pay salaries in advance.”
“So for the private sector employees, we do not have such issues,” he said.
Pan Oceanic Bank is a locally incorporated bank and currently, there are more than 3,800 loan customers which more than 70% of them are SIG employees.