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

Mobile Money and Microfinance: A Match Made in Heaven or Marriage Gone Awry?

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Use of mobile money in microfinance seems to be an idea whose time has come. It has also figured in our publications as potentially the next big idea in financial inclusion (see Can MNOs Lead the Way for Banking the Excluded 1 and 2 as well as Mobile Money – Influencers of Success and Speculation on… 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

Non-Bank-Bank Partnerships: Break-ups, New Dates on the Cards?

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Until this month RBI maintained the view that only licensed commercial banks can offer cash-out services. As a result a number of banks and non-banks formed partnerships. In fact, the RBI’s view hasn’t changed. The RBI has simply decided to regulate non-banks offering business correspondent services too, as differentiated, Payments Banks (PB). Business correspondents (BC)… 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

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

Mor Committee Report – Is There a Take Away for Insurance Industry?

The report of Reserve Bank of India’s Committee on “Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low Income Households”, commonly known as the “Mor Committee report” has generated unprecedented levels of exuberance, interest and debate. While most of the RBI committee reports are conservative and confirmatory in approach, this report talked about a paradigm shift… Continue reading