Financial inclusion: How to do it better

Dhaka,  Fri,  22 September 2017
Published : 21 Apr 2017, 20:57:29

Financial inclusion: How to do it better

Md Mashiur Rahman
Financial inclusion is certainly necessary for our economy, especially to enhance the deposit of banks which will ultimately increase the capital of our country. For the purpose of financial inclusion, cheapest, user-friendly and secure software is necessary. Presently mobile banking, especially Bikash, is widely popular but it is also found that the Bikash is expensive. The channel of mobile banking is mostly used for transfer of money from one area to another, but not for savings or regular transactions—payments from one account to another.

Present Opportunity:

* 76 per cent people have access to electricity as of October 2016 (20th National Convention’s Council, 2016)

* Total mobile phone subscribers are 131.956 million as of January, 2016 (BTRC)

* Internet users are 61.29 million as of March, 2016 (BTRC)

Bringing all people into the Banking Channel:

Financial inclusion: How to do it betterBanker-customer relationship is established through opening of a bank account. The function of opening a Bank Account is not complicated that much. Like the voter list we can take support from the local unemployed people and/or students for going to the doorsteps of the common people with cameras, laptops and the internet facility. Some messages like ‘keep your money in the bank and be a prestigious citizen’ or ‘Keep your money in the bank, not under the bed’ can be part of the campaign. They will distribute the account opening forms among the households, shopkeepers and all other citizens, snap their photos and verify the National ID numbers and confirm the opening of accounts as regular customers of banks. Banks may design a special size of the account opening form with minimum requirements as per the Bangladesh Bank prescription. In this case, the minimum deposit may be Tk 10.00 or zero in a bid to interest the people in opening an account and transaction through the banking channel. If we can include the unbanked people in the banking channel and confirm the zero cost online transaction under the same banking channel with security and user-friendly software, the system will be popular. If the system can be popular, banks will be able to increase the collection of zero-cost deposit and both parties will be mutually benefited. Notably, if the people use the same bank for regular transactions, aggregate deposits of the bank will not fall because of the transfer of money from one account to another, as the expense of one person is the income of another person and both the persons are the customers of the same Bank.

Involvement of local unemployed people and students in opening bank accounts:

Banks can involve the local unemployed people and students in opening bank accounts for six months or more under a project. The local students will get payment against each account opened and after completion of the project they will get certificates for the job done. Many students will show interest in doing the job not only for money but also for the certificates. The recruited people will collect small deposits. As the amount is very small, the possibility of fraudulence is minimum. However, they may be allowed to collect cross-cheques if the bank feels it is safe.

Invest now, earn in future:

In this case, banks can expend an amount of money on development of software, server space, procurement of laptops and cameras with internet devices, printing of account opening forms, expenses against locally-recruited students, their supervision etc. But the banks will get the opportunity to collect deposits at the zero cost and it will ensure inclusion of thousands of un-banked people in the banking channel. It will also help collect and distribute remittances.     

Development of app for regular transactions:

An app may be developed in the name of Tk. or using any other suitable name. The app will be used for transferring funds from one account to another of the same bank or other banks (if possible) any time i.e. 24/7. If a client opens an account, the app and the link for transferring the money will be installed on his cell phone/laptop. It will have the simple functions as follows:Financial inclusion: How to do it better

The client will also have an option of enjoying the facility on Laptop, iPad, PC etc. as the concept is a combination of cell/mobile banking and also internet banking. For transactions through cell phones the client may use the Opera Mini browsing software which is very speedy and easy. As such, bank officials or agents will help the client in downloading the software and installation. Bank officials or agents will also help set up the proposed app and link before entering the account and doing transactions. The app will be easily accepted by the general people. It will offer great advantages, some of which are as follows:

i. The client can transfer fund any time i.e. 24/7.

ii. Each transaction will be recorded in the bank statement, the statement will bear the account no., date, Bank, Branch etc. where the amount is transferred and vice versa.

iii. Transfer of fund for terrorism will be prohibited as the details of the beneficiary will be recorded properly.

iv. If the clients are using the system and doing transaction, the total deposits will not decline. Here the money will only be transferred from one account to another, one bank to another bank, but the deposits in the banking sector will remain same.

v. Clients will also receive cheque books against the accounts (especially for savings and current account). So, it will be complete banking aided by the latest technology.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
Published by the Editor for International Publications Limited from Tropicana Tower (4th floor), 45, Topkhana Road, GPO Box : 2526 Dhaka- 1000 and printed by him from City Publishing House Ltd., 1 RK Mission Road, Dhaka-1000.
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