Bangladesh Bank prioritises branchless banking
Aiming at the speedy financial inclusion of rural people, Bangladesh Bank (BB) will give banks and other related organisations more support to expand branchless banking.
With technological advancements, including expansion of mobile phone coverage, Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman said effective partnerships among banks and technology service providers would make branchless banking a great success.
The central bank is supporting banks and some other financial institutions to operate branchless services to cater to the major banking need of rural and urban people.
BB will be more active in future with the target of full financial inclusion of the people who are yet to get the institutional banking services.
The branchless banking, where some major banking services including disbursing loan and getting repayment, sending and receiving money and remittance, will be the BB's priority to expand rural banking services, Rahman told a programme yesterday.
The Department for International Development and Consultative Group to Assist the Poor co-organised the programme to launch a publication on branchless banking at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.
"Bangladesh Bank is on the lookout for such creative partnerships in regulated IT based remote delivery of financial services," he said.
A number of services are already in operation, facilitating utility bill payments and delivery of remittances from Bangladeshi workers abroad to their families at home.
Other branchless banking services like smartcards and point of sale (POS) terminals are at various stages of implementation.
He said banks could usefully go for technology-based branchless banking to disburse and recover loan instalments to and from small landholder farmers and rural non-farm enterprises cost effectively, with only occasional field visits to appraise borrowers and to complete documentations.
Also, he said the expansion of branchless banking would at least to some extent ease the pressure of demand for cash currency notes, which are expensive to print, circulate and to dispose when they become unusable.
The governor, however, said that technology-based branchless banking would have its own set of technical and operational risks, which need to be mitigated and appropriately managed.