Financial Inclusion in Action

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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

Our Top Picks in 2015

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Disseminating knowledge to aid sectoral growth has always been a critical aspect of our work. In the year 2015, we continued to accentuate our efforts to reach out to the readers with best of our research work; evaluation of industry developments and challenges ahead. In this blog we present a collection our top viewed publications:… 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

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