NPF loses licence to start lending facility

SINPF Building in Honiara
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A 12-MONTH interim banking licence issued to the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (NPF) to operate its proposed credit institution expired early this month.

This means NPF will have to apply for another licence from the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) if it is to start its credit institution, which it registered as Solomon Finance Limited.

CBSI issued NPF the interim licence on November 1, 2019.

Within that 12-month period, NPF was expected to establish the institution and start operating it.

But nothing happened up to November 1, 2020 when the licence expired.

Many members of NPF have questioned the delay and wonder whether NPF is still pursuing the proposal.

When contacted yesterday, the NPF management said based on advice from CBSI, they will not be commenting on the matter at this stage.

“SFL already consulted CBSI to apply for a new interim licence in accordance to Section 5 of the Financial Institution Act 1998,” NPF management said in a statement.

The Interim Licence will allow NPF to carry out banking business as a credit Institution in Solomon Islands subject to the provisions of the Financial Institutions Act 1998.

Following the granting of the interim licence last November, NPF general manager Michael Wate said Solomon Finance Limited will be giving out competitively price small personal loans and home loans to members when given the full credit licende after meeting the conditions of the interim licence.

Wate said the idea to establish a standalone institution to provide loans for members was started after NPF Board closed member loan schemes in 2000 where members had access for urban homes, rural homes and furniture.

“Finally, on a journey that started 10 years ago with past boards and management, we had achieved what we wanted to do for our members,” Wate said last year.