BB attaches high priority to m-banking for poverty cut

Posted by BankInfo on Sat, Sep 14 2013 11:04 am

Bangladesh Bank (BB) will continue its support to fostering mobile phone banking as part of its drive to attain inclusive growth towards poverty alleviation.

“BB will continue attaching high priority for fostering mobile phone based banking as a powerful tool for easing hardship of livelihoods of poorer population segments,” BB Governor Dr Atiur Rahman told a seminar held Thursday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The governor was speaking at a session on “Banking Clients through Mobile Money” at AFI Global Policy Forum (GPF) 2013.

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), in cooperation with the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), is holding the three-day forum, began on September 10.

The Forum has become the world’s most important Forum on financial inclusion, and has consistently grown along with AFI, which now represents more than 100 institutions from 87 countries.

Addressing the session, Atiur said Bangladesh has the potential of expanding mobile banking faster with over 100 million among 152 million people using mobile phones.

“Fast penetration of mobile telephony everywhere in Bangladesh attracted attention early on for its high promise as a cost effective new financial inclusion instrument,” he said.

Apart from this, the governor said Mobile Network Companies (MNCs) in Bangladesh were keen on launching their own mobile phone based financial services. But on prudential stability considerations BB opted for promoting this service in a bank led mode with the MNCs in partnering role on fee income basis.

He said the number of mobile phone banking client accounts has nearly doubled over the past two years and reached 7.21 million in last March. The numbers of area agents have risen to 108 thousands, transaction volumes have gone up correspondingly.

Even then, the governor said Bangladesh still has vast potential for further expansion of mobile banking with new services.

Currently, he said, mobile phone banking transactions in Bangladesh comprise mainly money transfers including utility bill payments and salary disbursements.

Besides, he said, mobile phone banking is now setting up to extend other services like deposit taking, loan disbursement and loan recovery.

“Trial phases for introduction of these services are likely to be straightforward and brief after the much more complex initial phase of setting up secure glitch free software and connectivity, we expect these new transactions to take off rapidly before long,” he said.

News:Daily Sun/14-Sep-2013