DILI, TIMOR-LESTE (17 July 2017) — The Government of Australia has provided AU$400,000 ($306,000) in additional financing to the ongoing commercial transformation of the Banco Nacional de Comércio de Timor-Leste (BNCTL), supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“BNCTL has come a long way since it was upgraded to Timor-Leste’s first commercial bank, delivering banking services to people in rural and urban areas, while contributing to economic growth and development,” said Paolo Spantigati, Country Director of ADB’s Timor-Leste Resident Mission. “We look forward to continue being part of BNCTL’s growth.”
The additional financing will complement the ongoing work to commercialize BNCTL by strengthening critical functions of credit risk, operational risk, compliance, and audit to sustain the bank’s operations as it continues to grow.
An important milestone was reached in January 2017 with the implementation of 20 automated teller machines (ATMs) across the country, allowing BNCTL customers to access their money at their convenience. BNCTL continues to create awareness for existing and prospective customers on how to apply for and use ATM cards to withdraw cash and transfer funds.
Over the next 12 months, ADB will support BNCTL to implement a new core banking system which will support mobile phone banking and internet banking services. This will give customers further flexibility over their banking needs, eliminating the need to travel to a branch and queue up to access funds or pay bills.
ADB’s technical assistance supported the transformation of BNCTL from Instituição de Micro Finanças de Timor-Leste, a microfinance institution into a commercial bank with an unrestricted banking license in July 2011. It is the country’s first locally owned bank, providing services mainly to the poorer sections of the population and small businesses on commercial terms. The government, as the sole shareholder, and the central bank have now directed BNCTL to play a more active role in the banking sector.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.