17 Dec 2013

Concern for Pacific as banks end small money transfers

4:45 pm on 17 December 2013

A commentator on Pacific issues says Australia's big four banks stopping small money transfers to the Pacific could significantly impact local economies.

The banks have announced they are closing the accounts of money transfer organisations that cater to people who are only able to send small sums, saying they pose a money laundering risk.

Fa'amatuainu Tino Pereira says Pacific Islanders rely heavily on small sums sent by their relatives living abroad.

He says the lack of funds could have a trickle on effect to local economies.

"If they're doing say 60 percent of the volume of transfer of money to the region, that will be an absolutely significant impact on not only the economy of those particular countries, but also on the mobility of the money that will allow those communities to sustain themselves given the current economic situation."

Fa'amatuainu Tino Pereira says the banks should consult the Pacific governments affected by these changes.