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Financial Inclusion

 

Q-Cash took important steps to create home-grown policies and launch initiatives to reduce one of the most significant barriers to Bangladesh economic growth. The result could be to empower millions of people to join the formal financial sector in the years ahead.

An estimated over 80% Bangladesh population does not have access to formal financial services, which can include banking, savings, insurance, credit or pensions. Working with Financial Sectors over a decade ITC/Q-Cash recognizes the important role financial inclusion policy has towards improving Bangladesh Financial stability, fighting poverty and contributing to balanced and sustainable growth across the country. Q-cash is committed to work together Regulatory Authorities, International Donor Agencies and Financial Sectors to create and implement regulatory frameworks that balance inclusion, stability and integrity.

ITC / Q-Cash financial inclusion strategy empowers Bangladesh unbanked population

Learn how Bangladesh’s unbanked population is being empowered with banking and allied services with Q-Cash financial inclusion strategy. ITC has tied up with Bangladesh Post Office (having over 10,000 branches across the country and over 35,000 delivery mans) and is taking the cause forward to provide the banking facilities in rural areas.


In this video, we showcase how Q-Cash strategy has simplified the life of millions of people in remote villages. They can now receive their pension, remittance and other payments within few minutes without any hassles. It also provides employment opportunities, wherein qualified individuals are employed to manage the service locally.

Reaching the unbanked

The economic landscape of Bangladesh has undergone a tremendous change with visible signs of growth momentum in all sectors. However, the benefits have not equitably percolated to different segments of our society. Even after establishment of cooperative banks, nationalisation of major commercial banks and creation of regional rural banks, only 20% of adult population in the country has bank accounts. Only 5% of rural adults have access to accounts, while in the urban areas the percentage rises to 40%. Only 5 out of 100 adults have loan accounts on an all-Bangladesh basis.

The top six metros (Dhaka, Chittagong, sylhet, rajsahi, Khulna & noakhali) alone contribute 60% to total deposit and to credit 70%, indication lower penetration of banking services in the remaining parts of the country. All this indicates the extent of financial exclusion and reflects the lack of access to appropriate low cost, fair and safe financial and insurance product and services from mainstream providers. The reason for such low banking penetration can be attributed mainly to low income, unemployment and under-employment, low-level of awareness, low level of financial literacy and lack of access to banking facilities in remote areas.

Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion is receiving due attention in our country as a means to provide access to financial services to all the people in a fair, transparent and  equitable manner at affordable cost, and address the imperative need to modify the credit and financial services delivery system to achieve greater inclusion. The banking requirements of people in rural and urban areas differ. True to its “common man’s bank” image and mission statement providing all financial products and services to all the customers under one roof at affordable cost, banks in Bangladesh has evolve two different financial inclusion models, one rural and the other urban.

Rural model

In rural areas, people hesitate to have banking accounts because of the perception that the bank serve the bigger and affluent customers. In order to remove this apprehension, banks modelled the financial inclusion project so that the bank staff or bank authorized agent would contact the people at their homes and open no-frills/zero balance account and deliver prepaid card at their doorsteps.

Voted ID cards or Passport of the families were taken for fulfilling the simplified KYC norms.

A national pilot project on financial inclusion has been taken by A2I/PMO in collaboration with UNDP involving Sonali banks is in the progress and strategy, guideline under review keeping in mind cost effective, easy to use and best practice technology locally available and create a common platform accepted by all other Banks and Financial Institutions.

Urban Model

There is a general feeling that financial inclusion is not necessary in urban and metro centers. In reality, large number of persons in urban centers does not have banking facilities and financial exclusion is very common particularly in respect of migrated labor who have moved into these areas in search of jobs. These people do not have bank accounts or knowledge of banking facilities. Hence, they send money to their family members through informal sources and through friends, relatives, etc, or carry cash whenever they visit their native place, which carries an element of risk.

The situation was no different in Dhaka, one of Asia’s largest City with hundreds of domestic and foreign bank branches and ATMs. The low income people of Dhaka largely rely on cash economy and informal means of payments, transfers, saving and borrowings. To obviate such problems, Sonali Bank along with ITC Q-Cash working out an urban financial inclusion model. Low income people who are migrant and working factories and eateries to get prepaid bank cards and option to tag the same prepaid account with Mobile Wallet (MFS) and encouraged to open an account for which simplified KYC norms were followed.

Role of Technology

The financial inclusion process can be speeded up and made more effective in providing various financial products and services by leveraging technology. This will improve efficiency, accuracy, transparency and outreach. The bank leveraged technology for opening large volumes of ‘no frills’ accounts in a shorter period. Handheld GPRS enable POS Terminal with Q-Cash proven software packages are extensively in use Bangladesh Post Office to open such accounts at doorsteps.

The rural and semi-urban branches implementing financial inclusion were brought under CBS to enable them to cope up with large volumes of accounts. Regular ATMs have provided to remote branches and all ATMs are interconnected for online ATM transactions. To overcome the barrier of digital recognition which many times the rural people are unable to remember, Q-Cash in process to setup the first of its kind, voice-guided and networked biometric-able ATM in Bangladesh. To increase outreach among common man, Q-Cash member banks has also embarked on a pilot project on Prepaid Card Banking. These multi-application e-cards will act as customer identity tokens using bio password and enable transactions at the doorsteps of the customers. Banking Services Centre (BSC), the new business delivery model introduced by the bank enables banking transactions online.