Market Digest

Microfinance’s digitialisation to boost financial inclusion

Staff Correspondent

28 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Digitialisation of microfinance services could open up a new class of opportunities for financial inclusion and sustainable growth, speakers said.

This was the consensus of an eminent panel of speakers during a webinar entitled ‘Unlocking the power of digitisation in the MFI sector’ organised by Standard Chartered recently.

Financial inclusion and sustainable growth are the two key drivers of the country’s journey toward becoming a high income nation by 2041, speakers said.

 Standard Chartered Bangladesh CEO Naser Ezaz Bijoy, Microcredit Regulatory Authority Executive Vice Chairman Md Fashiullah, Sajida Foundation CEO Zahida Fizza Kabir, Bkash CEO Kamal Quadir, TMSS Executive Director Prof. Dr. Hosne Ara Begum, Credit and Development Forum (CDF) Executive Director Md Abdul Awal, Manabik Shahajya Shangstha (MSS) Executive Director Munawar Reza Khan and PADAKHEP Manabik Unnayan Kendra Executive Director Md Saleh Bin Sums spoke at the webinar.

The keynote speech was delivered by Zahedul Amin, Director, Strategy, Finance and Consulting Services, LightCastle Partners.

The session was moderated by Alamgir Morshed, Head of Financial Institutions, Standard Chartered Bank.

While traditionally a human intensive operation, significant opportunities to digitalise processes ranging from disbursements to repayment collections, client information capture, training and monitoring are opening up due to adoption of technology at the grassroots.

Mobile financial services are a vital part of this ecosystem but remain a necessary yet not sufficient condition for microfinance institutions to scale up their operations.

Through digitalisation, the microfinance institutions remain keen on achieving greater efficiencies that can ultimately be passed on to their beneficiaries in terms of lower cost of financing and greater convenience.

Standard Chartered Bangladesh CEO Naser Ezaz Bijoy said, “Rising commerce and prosperity must be accompanied by inclusive growth. The financing MFIs are channelling to rural areas provide jobs for the low-income population, bridge the income gap, and help advance diversity and inclusion, particularly through women empowerment.”