Financial Inclusion in Action

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The Clear Blue Water on the Other Side of the Digital Divide

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In the recent MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion in Accra, I was asked to participate in a debate, arguing for the proposition that “disruptive innovation is no longer relevant to the needs of the poor.” Not easy for someone who has been deeply involved with optimising the delivery of digital financial services (or electronic banking as… Continue reading

Can Fintech Really Deliver On Its Promise For Financial Inclusion?

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At the recent MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion, I was asked to participate in the closing debate. A great honour. However, I was asked to support the proposition that “Disruptive innovations in the financial sector can no longer respond to the daily challenges of poor people”. Ouch! For all my critiques of digital financial… Continue reading

Foresight in a FinTech Forest – Financial Technology Drives a Digital Banking Response

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We’ve reached an inflexion point in banking, more pronounced and more fundamental than any which has preceded. The financial technology (FinTech) revolution promises dramatic improvements in customer experience and fundamental changes in how banking is informed and how it is conducted.  Financial institutions must make critical choices if they are to compete in the new… Continue reading

Why Most Agents Networks Will Fail

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The Soul of an Agent Network: The Helix Institute has evaluated and advised all types of agent networks in countries around the world. Big ones, rural ones, new ones, bank ones, and even imaginary inactive ones. Despite the differences in operational strategies, all agent networks should have one element in common – they are crafted… Continue reading

A Strategic Approach for Next-Generation DFS Agent Networks

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With special thanks and acknowledgement to Abhinav Sinha (EKO India), Tamara Cook (FSD Kenya), Kwame Oppong (CGAP), Paul Mbugua (Eclectics), Paul Musoke (FSD Africa), and Abigail Komu (Independent Consultant). Some people may argue that agent networks will soon go extinct. Even if that is the case, it will not happen until long into the future.… Continue reading

Redefining Retail Banking – Agency and Beyond

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Agency banking offers the prospect of much greater access to financial services for large numbers of currently unbanked or underbanked individuals – through financial institutions rolling out financial services using third party agents. However, agency banking is simply the latest element in a much wider technology-driven revolution in banking. Technology is redefining banking across the… Continue reading

How Smart are Smartphone Lending Apps in Kenya?

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The mobile digital credit revolution in Kenya has attracted many fintechs offering loans via smartphones. Smartphone-based products have been touted for their potential to improve the user experience for digital financial services, particularly among low literacy customers. However, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) finds that in India existing interfaces fail to realise… Continue reading

Leveraging Fintech to Achieve Financial Inclusion in Indonesia

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Click here to read the blog in Bahasa Indonesia “Fintech” – an intersection of financial services and technology – is taking the traditional financial world by storm. Indonesia is no exception, with a fast-evolving ecosystem that includes a host of financial services offered by new generation fintechs. The diagram below, by no means exhaustive, highlights a… Continue reading

Can Payments Banks Survive?

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The news that three of the provisional licensees, Cholamandalam Distribution Services, Dilip Shanghvi and Tech Mahindra, have decided not to seek a full Payments Bank license, has caused much debate. The reasons for their withdrawal are varied – and not all necessarily based on the challenges posed by the underlying business model. Despite this, the… Continue reading

Open Application Programming Interfaces (API): Purpose and Possibilities

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Application Programming Interface or API, a software programme, acts as a bridge between disparate applications. It performs the intended function when a set of instructions are provided through a user interface (UI). The front-end of UI is usually a website or mobile application. The following diagram illustrates the basic architecture of any API-based business model:… Continue reading