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IFC and National Bank of Samoa partner to develop new banking products

national bank of samoa

Apia, SAMOA — The National Bank of Samoa (NBS) is developing a suite of new banking products that would benefit women entrepreneurs and improve remittances in Samoa with the support of IFC and the New Zealand Government.

The new products include tailored financial offerings for women entrepreneurs and a remittance product designed specifically for the needs of both overseas Samoans looking to send money home and their family and friends who are recipients of these remittances.

As part of NBS’ commitment to serving the unique needs of its community, the new pioneering remittance product will be designed and developed specifically for Samoans.

"Our goal is to offer a low-cost, sustainable, and reliable financial service that resonates with the Samoan way of life," said Sam Swann, CEO of NBS. “This initiative is not just about remittances; it’s about fostering financial inclusion, enabling more Samoans to embrace banking, save effectively, and access opportunities that enhance their economic well-being."

Currently, about half of adult Samoans don’t have access to formal financial services while the remittance landscape in the Pacific predominantly features cash-to-cash transfers, which have higher costs by global standards. NBS’ new, innovative digital remittance platform, tailored for Samoa, is designed to be economical and convenient, ensuring that Samoans can send and receive money with ease, fostering greater financial empowerment.

“We are delighted to support NBS in creating a broader suite of products for Samoans. It signals a deepening of our partnership with the bank,” said Judith Green, IFC Country Manager for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. “Our support in Samoa leverages lessons we learned in helping to set up a similar product in Tonga. We plan to work with partners elsewhere in the Pacific to replicate digital payment systems, which help increase financial inclusion and support economic prosperity and growth.”

IFC’s work with NBS will build on the successful introduction of a remittance product in 2017 which resulted in 2,000 Tongans opening new bank accounts and encouraged more Tongans to save.

"Enabling easier participation in the formal financial system leads to increased economic opportunities. The Government of Samoa is exploring the development of a digital remittance system for Samoa which will enable better education, healthcare, housing and other household needs. New Zealand is proud to support the National Bank of Samoa on this work, which we hope will contribute to greater financial wellbeing for the people of Samoa," said New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa Her Excellency, Si'alei van Toor.

The digital shift requires users to have bank accounts, paving the way for enhanced financial inclusion. The new system is expected to encourage a broader demographic to engage with banking, thereby facilitating better savings habits and financial security.

In addition to the remittance service, IFC is also providing advisory support to NBS to enhance its risk management systems and gender finance services. This collaboration will further enable the development of innovative financial products, especially for women entrepreneurs in Samoa, empowering them to grow their businesses and contribute to the local economy.

Research undertaken shows that women-owned SME businesses in Samoa face greater difficulties in accessing finance – by addressing this need it will also help NBS further diversify its loan portfolio whilst helping the broader Samoan economy. The research also shows there are opportunities to increase financial inclusion among women in Samoa.

The initiatives announced today mark a deepening of the strategic partnership between NBS in June 2023 to boost financing for small and medium-sized businesses and will help to introduce services that anticipate future demands, ensuring long-term resilience and prosperity.


The National Bank of Samoa (NBS) is a Samoan owned and operated commercial bank. NBS offers a full range of financial services to customers, both personal and business. These includes savings accounts, cheque accounts, loans, and overdraft facilities through to a comprehensive offering of international services.