Financial Inclusion in Action

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How Many Accounts Does A Man Have To Open To Be Financially Included?

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It was a hot afternoon during one of our recent agent network assessment studies, when I got the opportunity to meet Raju. He seemed no different from the typical participants in our focus group discussions in Bihar. A farmer somewhere in his middle 30s, thin and frail, wearing a half-sleeved ‘baniyan’ (vest) and pants with… Continue reading

Market Readiness for Mobile Money Interoperability

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Interoperability of mobile financial services potentially offers great benefits for the wider ecosystem. The value to consumers is obvious. This, in turn, leads to wider adoption; higher transaction volumes; greater velocity of money in the ecosystem; all of which are advantageous to service providers. It is now well established from both MicroSave’s Helix Institute of Digital Finance and CGAP studies that… Continue reading

Financial Inclusion Histories

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We do most of our work in a historical vacuum. We tend to think of today's problems and opportunities as unique. That's a natural bias in an age imbued with a sense of inexorable progress reliant on technological solutions. But if we lift our gaze over historical time, we find numerous references to issues and… Continue reading

Communication – The Achilles Heel of Direct Benefit Transfers – Part II

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We strongly believe that an integrated communication approach should be the starting point of large Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programmes. It certainly helps to be as clear and succinct as possible to manage expectations. In the previous blog we highlighted how poor and often contradictory communication is leading to mass confusion and apprehension amongst beneficiaries.… Continue reading

Does the New Inclusion Scheme Risk Adding a Rs. 1,000 Billion Subsidy Burden?

The Prime Minister is all set to announce a mega new programme on financial inclusion on India’s Independence Day. The Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, is busy shaping the ‘Sampoorn Vittiyea Samaveshan (SVS)’ (Comprehensive Financial Inclusion) scheme in consultation with bankers. Anyone closely associated with the financial inclusion space will worry that without very… Continue reading

Several Times Bitten: Still Not Shy?

The intention to provide at least two accounts to each household in the next one year is welcome. But the question in everybody’s mind is: how will the target be achieved, and what will be the status of these accounts at the end of this exercise? The target itself is ambitious: we want to open… Continue reading

Innovation Overkill: Why Product Innovation in Financial Inclusion isn’t Always the Right Move

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Amid all the renewed talk about product innovation and a client centric (or what we at MicroSave have, for over a decade now, called a “market-led”) approach to financial inclusion, I find myself wondering if we have lost sight of two key aspects: The differences between market leaders and market followers The challenges of advancing through the… Continue reading

NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – What Will It Take?

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In the blog “NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? Part-I” we highlighted the range of benefits for both NBFC-MFIs and banks in arrangements under which NBFC-MFIs operate as BCs for banks. In“NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? Part-II” we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the model for NBFC-MFIs. But of course the… Continue reading

NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? (Part-II)

As we highlighted in NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? (Part-I) the benefits for NBFC-MFIs and banks are pretty clear – we summarise them below. Benefits of the BC Model for Key Stakeholders (from Microfinance in India – Is Business Correspondent (BC) the Way Forward?) Benefits for NBFC-MFIs Benefits for Banks The model significantly de-risks… Continue reading

NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? (Part-I)

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It has happened! In May 2012, MicroSave’s study of the potential for MFIs to acts as business correspondents (BCs) concluded, “MFIs are potentially and excellent channel and product development partner for banks, as long as they have the capacity and resources to dedicate to it. MFIs can help all stakeholders to leverage their existing engagement… Continue reading