Financial Inclusion in Action

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Demystifying the Role of Master Agents

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Agents are deemed the lynchpin of any successful digital finance (mobile money or agent banking) roll-out. A plethora of literature has been written about the role they play in building successful and sustainable digital finance businesses.  Less attention has been paid to the critical work of Master Agents who constitute an important, if not crucial, element in the agent-based… Continue reading

Time for Action! Customer Service, Protection and Trust in Indian Digital Financial Services

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Gayatri Devi lives in Ghumka village in Chhattisgarh. She takes care of an extended family of eight. Her husband works in a cloth mill in Gujarat, and comes home once in 6 months. He sends money every month for household expenditures, some of which Gayatri deposits at the agent point in her village. Women are… Continue reading

Training, Monitoring & Support – Necessary Or An Opportunity To Cut Costs?

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While only 27% of agent network managers receive good support and involvement from the banks for which they are providing services, another 55%  do say that they receive moderate support, as per MicroSave’s recent State of the Industry Report 2015 on India note. The India 2015 ANA survey results enable us to understand this further by… Continue reading

Digital Financial Inclusion In India – A Long Road To Take-Off?

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The history of India’s efforts to achieve digital financial inclusion has been diverse, but largely top-down. These efforts have produced a mixture of RBI regulations and advices for banks, and government policies and directives. Most recently, the RBI provided guidelines for differentiated banks (Payments and Small Finance Banks) specifically designed to deepen outreach and enhance… Continue reading

Should Microfinance Go Digital?

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“Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come”- Victor Hugo Recently, a new partnership has emerged between digital financial service providers and microfinance institutions to address the challenges of financial access among the un/under banked populations globally. The partnership can potentially offer benefits to not only the two partners but also other… Continue reading

Paint by Numbers: Profiles of Bank Agents in India

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India’s financial inclusion efforts remain in a difficult transition period. And agents, or business correspondents, as they are known here, are not the all-purpose, “last link” solution everyone had imagined between banks and low-income, remote or migrant customers. Despite the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) commendable efforts to move financial inclusion aggressively forward (this year's… Continue reading