Despite the severe economic impact of the pandemic in Papua New Guinea, financial institution Heduru Moni Limited (trading as Moni Plus) achieved record revenues and profits in 2021. Business Advantage PNG sat down with the company’s new CEO, Aho Baliki OBE, to discuss his successes and ambitious growth plans.
Business Advantage PNG: Tell us about what sets Moni Plus apart from other financial institutions.
Aho Baliki: We are a market leader in finance, with a healthy loan portfolio and growth of over 65% over the past year. This clearly suggests that we need to do something that our competitors are not doing. Our response to customers is a serious priority for us. We have a strong customer base of over 40,000 and ensure that they have a good turnaround time for their loan applications.
Community involvement is also a priority for us and we are involved in the community, as well as a variety of sports bodies, NGOs and charities. We are not just a financial institution, but rather we are seen as a true partner to the community at large.
BAPNG: What are your plans for the continued growth of Moni Plus?
A B: Moni Plus has already grown from a small family business more than 22 years ago to a legal entity. It is important that we strengthen the board and management to ensure that we have the necessary governance and compliance, as well as the appropriate human resources to continue this upward trend.
We have a staff of 200 knowledgeable staff who successfully run the Moni Plus business in Port Moresby and provincial branches in Mt Hagen, Lae, Kokopo and Alotau. We expect to see these branches grow over the next few years with the opening of six new branches. Our plan for the immediate future is also to obtain a banking license and become a commercial bank.
“We are in the process of ensuring that we are compliant and that we meet the minimum requirements of the Central Bank for obtaining the banking license.”
BAPNG: Can you go into a bit more detail about the process of obtaining a banking license and what that would mean for Moni Plus?
A B: I would say that we are currently more than ready enough to become a bank. We are in the process of ensuring that we are compliant and that we meet the minimum requirements of the Central Bank for obtaining the banking license. The involvement of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has been fundamental to this process and to the general strengthening of our governance and compliance protocols.
One of the next steps we have in mind is to launch an IPO in the near future. This would strengthen our capital needs and give Papua New Guinea, local businesses and landowner groups the opportunity to participate in our business. Both the IPO and the banking license will be essential to further strengthen our growth and allow us to offer an increased range of products.
BAPNG: What role do you expect technology to play in the institution’s growth?
A B: Not only IFC, but with the help of our partners, this has been essential for us to develop our technologies. We want to ensure that our technology platforms have the capacity to support our growth and respond to future opportunities. Digital services and products offered in PNG are also becoming more accessible to the public, which gives us a lot of advantages.
For example, smart phone technology can increase the efficiency and speed of our communications with customers.
BAPNG: I guess risk management is key for financial institutions like Moni Plus. How do you manage lending risk in the PNG environment?
A B: When taking out loans, we ensure that risk and security measures, including collateral, are in place. Although we take risks, they are calculated based on the usefulness and durability of the loans. We are a small organization and we also have many years of data that we can use to assess risk mitigation. PNG is a tough lending environment with its own set of challenges, but we need to persevere in our business.