Bangladesh's efforts to deepen financial inclusion took a step forward yesterday as Bank Asia launched the country's first-ever complete banking services on the premises of a garment factory.
The “RMG Digital Banking Booth” was set up at Echotex Ltd in Gazipur where garment workers will receive full-fledged banking services. Echotex is a top enterprise with facilities for knitting, dyeing, digital and screen printing, laundry and garmenting.
Rumee A Hossain, chairman of the executive committee of the board of the private commercial bank, inaugurated the booth.
Md Arfan Ali, president and managing director of the bank, said the service is the first of its kind in the country.
“This is a complete banking booth and a branch. Workers will receive credible and complete service. We are doing it as part of our corporate social responsibility.”
The bank said the goal of the banking service is simple: every garment worker will open a bank account and get easy and effortless services.
Thanks to the booth, garment workers can enjoy services such as cash withdrawal and deposit, transfer of funds and mobile phone top-up, according to a statement.
The bank said the RMG digital banking booth will work as a key enabler for achieving the financial inclusion goals of the government.
Hossain said the main reason behind the problems in the banking industry is that banks only lend to industrialists. “We have to provide loans to small customers as well.”
Ali said: “Bank Asia intends to amplify the project to lend a hand to the thousands of garment workers who are contributing to Bangladesh's economic growth as we believe it is our moral responsibility to serve them.”
Eighteen garment factories are in the process of taking the service of Bank Asia, according to the statement.
Md Nasir Uddin, a director of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, called the opening of the booth good news for garment workers.
Mohammad Bin Kashem, a director of Echotex, said: “It is a remarkable step to improve the lifestyle of the garment workers.”