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.
Journey of Social Safety Net (SSN) beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic period
During the pandemic period in 2020, many Social Safety Net (SSN) beneficiaries were worried about the cash assistance they received after waiting long queues and traveling long distances. The Bangladesh government introduced a digital intervention through Mobile Financial Services (MFS) to disburse allowances to solve their pain points and anxiety.
Different yet similar—the behavioral biases of low- and moderate-income segments in Bangladesh and Vietnam
“We see the potential volume, but do we design profitable products for low-and moderate-income (LMI) people?” MSC faces this question repeatedly in discussions with our clients across Asia and Africa—including our partners in Bangladesh and Vietnam under the MetLife Foundation-funded i3 program.
In the first blog, we raise the question on the key behavioral biases to keep in mind to create compelling, engaging, and profitable products for the low- and moderate-income segment. The second blog speaks of the similarities and differences in the LMI segment in Bangladesh and Vietnam. The blog also takes you through the lives and struggles of two personas—Morium from Bangladesh and Hoang from Vietnam.
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.
The journey of mobile financial services at BURO Bangladesh: A lesson for the microfinance sector in Bangladesh
The case study encapsulates the digital transformation journey of BURO Bangladesh as it tried to offer mobile financial services to its clients. The road was not easy, but the efforts have finally started to yield results to both the MFI and its customers.
Non-cash payment helps promote financial inclusion in Vietnam
Only 31% of all adults in Vietnam own a bank account, compared to 69% of adults in East Asia and the Pacific. This video reflects how mobile phones, internet users, and digital financial services (DFS) can increase access to basic banking services in Vietnam.