Financial Inclusion in Action

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India’s enabling triangle for financial inclusion

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In our earlier blogs, we expressed our concerns around the growth of the digital divide, as the focus for financial inclusion shifts to FinTech and superplatforms as “the definitive solutions”. While these solutions typically require smartphones, many of the poorer households in Asia and Africa simply do not have access to the devices. Neither do… Continue reading

The Agent Profitability Conundrum in India – Time for Differentiated Agents?

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  Recent research from MicroSave suggests that although agents report their dissatisfaction as high, dormancy or dropouts are still relatively low at 20%. The low dormancy or dropouts are potentially due to the following factors:    1. Hope – agents believe that the national financial inclusion drive (PMJDY) will increase the volume of business;  2.… Continue reading

India Needs More Women Business Correspondent Agents

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The 2018 budget of the Government of India has taken a number of initiatives to empower women in the country. These include increased gas connections through subsidies to 80 million women under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (from the earlier 50 million) and a 37% increase in loans to women Self-Help Groups (SHGs).  These initiatives… Continue reading

Indian DFS landscape is changing: Insights from State of the Agent Network India, 2017 (ANA) Wave II Research

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MicroSave recently published its ‘State of the Agent Network, India 2017’ report based on our Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) Wave II research. We conducted the research in 2017, based on a nationally representative sample of 3,048 business correspondent agents. The 2017 India report proposes a significant shift from Wave I in 2015.    The report… 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

Where Are Women Agents in Indian DFS?

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Background In India, over 100 agent network managers (ANMs) are delivering digital financial services (DFS). Till March 2015, more than 600,000 agents were associated with ANMs in India, covering 92% of the country’s villages. There is, however, wide gender disparity amongst agents in India. For instance, according to a CGAP report, in 2012, only 15%… Continue reading

Agency Banking: How Female Agents Make a Difference

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Bilkis Banu sits along with a few of her customers in the veranda of her house and talks to us about the close bond that she shares with them. She was signed up as an agent to offer door-to-door cash deposit and withdrawal services for UCO Bank in February 2012 in Khormachali, a small village… Continue reading

Predictions for Regulators of Digital Financial Services

It is always dangerous to make predictions in an industry which is expanding and evolving rapidly, so it is with trepidation that I now do so. However, the predictions below are based on market insights and observations from working many years within the mass retail financial sectors and in Digital Financial Services (DFS). 1. DFS will… Continue reading

Understanding Gender Dynamics in Agent Banking

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MicroSave used its Market Insights for Innovations and Design (MI4ID) approach to conduct a series of studies in different parts of India. These studies sought to understand gender aspects of agent banking. The first part of this blog series highlights key findings aimed at understanding the differences in customer experience at an agent outlet based… Continue reading

e-KYC and the India Stack – A Transformative Blueprint for Emerging Markets

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A student newly admitted at Kenyatta University, Nairobi, wants a new mobile SIM, so she can talk to her parents back home in Eldoret. Her national identity card is used to establish her identity. A 32-year-old widow of a landless labourer in Bihar walks up to a Bank Mitr agent to open an account, so… Continue reading