The Fiji Development Bank (FDB) reached a major milestone today as it unveiled the newly renovated Labasa Branch, a tangible symbol of over 50 years of unwavering commitment to advancing financial services and economic progress in the Labasa community.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Hon Professor Biman Prasad highlighted that the Labasa Branch, which has served as a cornerstone of economic progress in our nation, especially in the North now aligned with the evolving demands and expectations of the 21st century.
“The modernization of this Branch speaks about FDB’s steadfast dedication to our people’s financial prosperity. This infrastructural investment will undoubtedly enrich the banking experience for the clients. It’s also about giving entrepreneurs the tools they need to flourish,” said the DPM Hon Professor Prasad.
In a significant move to empower small businesses and entrepreneurs, the FDB also announced an increase in the loan disbursement limit from $5,000 to $10,000 for those utilising MPaisa and MyCash. This enhancement aims to unlock new opportunities for small business owners, ensuring that they can access the financial resources they need more quickly and efficiently than ever before.
Commenting on the loan disbursement increase through digital means, Hon Professor Prasad remarked, “Empowering small businesses and entrepreneurs has always been a high-priority focus for the Fijian Government and I’m pleased to see that FDB shares this strong belief. This boost in the loan disbursement limit is designed to fuel the aspirations of small business owners. I am glad that FDB understands the dreams and ambitions of small business owners don’t come with limit tags.”
The FDB Board Chair, Mr Damend Gounder emphasized that FDB has always been driven by a community-centric approach to banking and this newly renovated Branch stands as a testament to that ethos.
“With almost 1,200 clients and a portfolio value of over $28 million, this Branch serves as a centre for nurturing dreams, supporting businesses and realizing the aspirations of our people. The portfolio of this Branch includes significant contributions from the Agriculture and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sectors, which are the Bank’s primary focus areas,” said Mr Gounder.
“We are especially proud to see the Northern region comprising the highest share of the Bank’s agriculture portfolio, representing almost 2,000 clients with a total value of almost $36 million. This demonstrates FDB’s commitment to fostering growth in the Agriculture sector in this region.”
FDB CEO Mr Saud Minam emphasized that FDB will continue to be a guiding light for economic empowerment, fulfilling its goal of building a robust financial sector in Fiji.
“I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Labasa community for their unwavering support and trust in the Fiji Development Bank. Your faith in us fuels our determination to excel and serve you better with each passing day. We are not just here to serve; we are here to empower,” said CEO Mr Minam.