Digitialisation of microfinance services could open up a new class of opportunities for financial inclusion and sustainable growth, both key drivers of the country's journey toward becoming a high-income nation by 2041, speakers said recently at a webinar.
The webinar titled "Unlocking the power of digitization in the MFI sector" was organised by Standard Chartered.
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 (MFS) are a vital part of this ecosystem, but that is not sufficient for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to scale up their operations.
Speakers at the webinar included Naser Ezaz Bijoy, CEO, Standard Chartered Bangladesh, Md Fashiullah, executive vice chairman, Microcredit Regulatory Authority, Zahida Fizza Kabir, CEO, Sajida Foundation, Kamal Quadir, CEO, bKash, Prof Dr Hosne Ara Begum, executive director, TMSS, Md Abdul Awal, executive director, Credit and Development Forum, Munawar Reza Khan, executive director, Manabik Shahajya Shangstha and Md Saleh Bin Sums, executive director, Padakhep Manabik Unnayan Kendra.
The keynote speech was delivered by Zahedul Amin, director of Strategy, Finance and Consulting Services, LightCastle Partners.
The session was moderated by Alamgir Morshed, head of Financial Institutions, Standard Chartered Bank.
Naser Ezaz Bijoy, CEO of Standard Chartered Bangladesh said, "Rising commerce and prosperity must be accompanied by inclusive growth. Microfinance institutions are providing employment opportunities to low-income people in rural areas, reducing income gaps and financing advances in diversity and inclusion, especially in the area of women empowerment."
"With an extensive coverage of around 40 million wallet holder of MFS providers and 100 million mobile internet users in Bangladesh, both of which are growing, now is the time to leverage the digital infrastructure to build microfinance solutions that will help communities across all corners of Bangladesh thrive."