Anik Muntasir Chowdhury is a Consultant for Bangladesh in the Digital Financial Services - Payments and Distribution domain of MSC.
Weaving a financial security net for Bangladesh’s garment workers
The readymade garments (RMG) industry has been a boon to Bangladesh’s economy by earning more than 10% of GDP and contributing to 84% of the country’s export earnings. Though most RMG workers started receiving wages through MFS wallets during the COVID pandemic, many do not have a formal bank account. Consequently, they cannot access a bouquet of financial products, such as credit, savings, insurance, and so on. Financial providers barely translate these needs into products and services that can serve RMG workers. However, they can cater to an untapped segment if they adopt an innovative design approach. Partnership with social enterprises that offer services to RMG workers can play a pivotal role here.
Credit for low- and moderate-income people in Bangladesh—can new-age banks and FinTechs deliver the regulator’s wish?
The waves of digitization and technological advancements have led to the opening of MFS accounts for 60% of the population in Bangladesh. The country now boasts more than 1.1 million agents. Despite the widespread use of MFS and internet access, only 9.1% of people access the formal credit system. Digital credit can be a stepping-stone in Bangladesh due to the lower cost of delivering credit through digital means, combined with the mass digital readiness of consumers. Several solutions have emerged from banks, NBFIs, FinTechs, MFSPs, MFIs, and development partners, such as City Bank’s “Nano Loan” product pilot to Prime Bank’s loan product for blue-collar workers. Together, stakeholders are trying to forge partnerships to address problems around access to credit and social development in Bangladesh.
COVID-19 and FinTechs in Bangladesh—impact and resilience
The COVID-19 pandemic had a pronounced effect on FinTechs in Bangladesh. MSC sought to evaluate the extent of this impact, given our partnering role in the DFS and FinTech ecosystem in the country. MSC conducted this landscape study on FinTechs with support from Visa in 2021. This report defines the impact of COVID-19 on FinTechs and identifies the possible way forward.
Facilitating cottage, micro, small, and medium enterprises during the pandemic
The op-ed stresses the challenges 7.7 million CMSMEs face in Bangladesh that are in distress due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It analyzes gaps in the government’s current relief package and suggests strategies to improve grassroots entrepreneurship in Bangladesh.
Cool in crisis: How Bangladeshi MFIs stay resilient
Since its independence, Bangladesh’s resilience in the face of numerous calamities like floods, droughts, and famines has earned worldwide appreciation. This blog explores how the country’s microfinance industry stays resilient during crises and continues to protect the poor and vulnerable.
Bangladesh – the basket case that taught microfinance to the world
As Bangladesh celebrates 50 years of independence, we look back at one of its greatest gifts to the world—microfinance. This blog highlights the role of Bangladesh’s four pioneering institutions—Grameen Bank, BRAC, ASA, and BURO Bangladesh—in the origin of microfinance and its local popularization, global adaptation, business model optimization, and product innovation.