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Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Friday, July 25, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

IBM, Monitise targets financial sector with mobile money solution in Kenya

Source: Capital FM Kenya

IBM and Monitise have announced a global alliance to deliver cloud-based mobile commerce solutions to help financial services institutions embrace the mobile channel and better engage with customers.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 — South Asia

Chinese microcredit firms lend around USD $10 billion in first half of 2014

Source: Global Post

BEIJING, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Microcredit companies in China issued 61.8 billion yuan (about 10 billion U.S. dollars) of new loans in the first half of 2014, industry figures showed on Wednesday.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's Airtel sticks to its case against Safaricom

Source: Mobile World Live

Kenyan operator Airtel has pledged to continue its case against larger rival Safaricom over what it charges for access to its M-Pesa mobile money transfer service, said Business Daily.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — South Asia

A new kind of no-frills bank could kickstart India’s long-awaited mobile money revolution

Source: Quartz

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is one of the few institutions Indians respect (paywall). India’s central bank is known for being clean, sensible, and well-run. It is also extremely cautious
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — Latin America

Financial Inclusion in Paraguay: New Mobile Money Regulation

Source: GSMA

The opportunity to increase financial access in Paraguay is massive.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

Does the World Still Need the World Bank?

Source: Bloomberg View

There will always be a need for a World Bank, which celebrates a birthday of sorts Tuesday. There is no need for a World Bank with more than 10,000 employees.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 — South Asia

India PM Modi to unveil comprehensive financial inclusion schemes on Aug. 15 - here’s a sneak peek

Source: FirstBiz

Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to give a big boost to the ongoing financial inclusion drive by unveiling a comprehensive programme, to be announced at the Red Fort in his address to the nation on the Independence Day.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 — South Asia

World Bank Group (WBG) Loans $500m to Government of Indonesia for Financial Sector Reform

Source: MicroCapital

World Bank Group (WBG) Loans $500m to Government of Indonesia for Financial Sector Reform, Including to Boost Financial Inclusion
Friday, July 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

International Reform Activists Dissatisfied by BRICS Bank

Source: Inter Press Service

FORTALEZA, Brazil, Jul 17 2014 (IPS) - The creation of BRICS’ (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) own financial institutions was “a disappointment” for activists from the five countries, meeting in this northeastern Brazilian city after the group’s leaders concluded their sixth annual summit here.
Friday, July 18, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: Why Farmers Are Loyal to Micro-Finance Institutions

Source: AllAfrica

Rwandans have hailed the role of micro-finance institutions just as Kigali is hosting a global financial inclusion summit starting today.
Thursday, July 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

5 things you need to know about the New Development Bank

Source: The Straits Times

At the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Tuesday, the New Development Bank was created.
Thursday, July 17, 2014 — South Asia

RBI spells out draft norms to set up payments banks, small banks in India

Source: FirstBiz

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday spelled out draft norms to set up payments banks and small banks in India that will give a major push for financial inclusion, or the process of spreading banking services in the un-banked segments, in Asia’s third largest economy.
Thursday, July 17, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom move to open up M-pesa agent network seen to aid mobile money services

Source: PC Advisor

Safaricom's move last week to allow agents for its M-pesa mobile money service to work for rival operators is broadly being viewed as having the potential to further fuel the growth of such services.
Thursday, July 17, 2014 — South Asia

Indian government to set up credit guarantee fund to support Rs 40,000-crore Financial Inclusion Mission

Source: Economic Times India

NEW DELHI: The government will set up a credit guarantee fund to support its over Rs 40,000-crore new Financial Inclusion Mission, which envisages to give a Rs 5,000 overdraft facility to around 8 crore new account holders.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Telecel Zimbabwe launches mobile money credit card

Source: ITWeb Africa

Zimbabwe's second largest telco by subscriber numbers, Telecel, on Wednesday launched a credit card for its mobile money system Telecash.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile payments ideal for Africa

Source: ITWeb Africa

In emerging markets, mobile money has the power to transform lives, says Gemalto.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya mobiles step up rivalry

Source: East African Business Week

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya’s lucrative mobile money transfer market is set for unprecedented competition following the entry of three additional telecoms operators with intention to have a piece of the sector’s billion shillings pie.
Friday, July 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe's high interest rates, multiple borrowings and growing debts

Source: The Africa Report

Zimbabwe's microfinance institutions (MFIs) doled out $170 million worth of loans to clients in the first quarter of the year with the bulk of the funds going towards domestic consumption.
Friday, July 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Incentives to lift mobile money uptake

Source: ITWeb

Airtime can be used as an incentive to drive the uptake and usage of mobile money services in countries where its growth has been sluggish.
Friday, July 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Fraudulent Mobile Money Transactions by Staff Cost MTN Uganda Billions

Source: Tech Moran

Mobile telecoms operator MTN Uganda has a history of losses resulting from internal misappropriation of funds. In a number of cases, former employees — mainly trade developers, mobile money agents and cleaners of contracted cleaning agencies — have faced convictions for defrauding the company.
Thursday, July 10, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria Launches National Bank Verification Scheme

Source: Ventures Africa

VENTURES AFRICA – As part of the financial inclusion policy of the Financial Sector Strategy (FSS) agenda of ensuring Nigeria becomes one of the top 20 largest economies in the world by 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has advised bank customers in Lagos to register and obtain their Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Thursday, July 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

Big Three Credit Rating Agency Courts Impact Investing at Right Moment

Source: Student Reporter

NEW YORK — It’s not without rhyme or reason that a credit rating agency like Moody’s Investors Service suddenly takes an interest in the impact investing field. For Mark Tulay, founder and CEO of Sustainability Risk Advisors and Sustainability ROI, this institution has good reasons to do so. “Credit raters see that climate change could, or likely will, lead to an environmental crisis that will create the next economic crisis,” said Tulay at the TBLI CONFERENCE USA 2014.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Bank accounts for all won’t bring financial inclusion to India

Source: First Post India

Financial inclusion, the buzzword that Manmohan Singh government used quite freely during his term in office, is likely to be part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lexicon as well. But the question is, how will he implement it?
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Equity Bank, Safaricom in clash that could affect Mpesa’s future

Source: Standard Digital

Kenya: The black swan theory provides an interesting way of looking at the business world. But for many entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, this theory — which describes an event that comes as a surprise and has a major effect — is yet to be ingrained in their way of life. And this is despite the fact that innovations that turn the world of business upside down often, if not always, come from “unexpected” quarters.
Monday, July 07, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa’s cashless future relies on localisation, not innovation

Source: memeburn

South Africa’s perceived ‘failure to launch’ in respect to mobile money needs to be put into a global context. In the latest MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index, only four countries – Singapore, Canada, the US and Kenya – score higher than 40 out of a possible 100. The inflection point, according to the report, sits at 60, highlighting the fact that in most cases mobile payments has been a solution looking for a problem.
Monday, July 07, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's mobile innovation brings digital money closer

Source: BBC News

Kenyan financial services heavyweight Equity Bank is planning to roll out mobile banking services in July, using innovative paper-thin SIM technology.
Thursday, July 03, 2014 — South Asia

Mobile money and digitized payments have few takers in India

Source: LiveMint

Lack of awareness and difficult access are the main hurdles
Thursday, July 03, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda working on cross border mobile money platform

Source: HumanIPO

East Africa will soon have a common mobile money platform that will enable users to send money from one country to another without any difficulty under exchange rates approved by central banks.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ugandan banks look to expand reach through agents

Source: The Observer

At least six banks have expressed interest in using agents to reach out to people outside the formal banking institutions, Bank of Uganda has said.
Tuesday, July 01, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile virtual operators compete with established players in Africa

Source: PC Advisor

Players in the traditional telecoms market have struggled in countries where extensive infrastructure is needed
Tuesday, July 01, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Consumer Federation of Kenya fights off claim of bias in mobile money war

Source: Standard Digital

Pressure is mounting on the Consumer Federation of Kenya ( Cofek) to stop opposing the award of licences to Equity Bank and two other Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) and support the venture.
Monday, June 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

Two Financial Titans Open Their Vaults to Impact Investing

Source: Student Reporter

Started a few years ago by a small band of pioneers, impact investing has gained traction and is now drawing the attention of large international banks. Large financial institutions such as BNP Paribas and Citigroup, based in Europe and the United States, respectively, are developing various projects in the field of social and sustainable finance.
Monday, June 30, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria’s Microfinance Banks Ready To Go Cashless

Source: The Nigerian Observer

Abuja - The National Association of Micro Finance Banks (NAMFB), has expressed readiness of its members to key into Federal Government’s cashless policy.
Monday, June 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

Impact investing on the cusp of mainstream wealth management

Source: Investment News

The news releases arrived in noteworthy succession throughout 2013. Morgan Stanley,UBS AG, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and JPMorgan Chase & Co. — some of the biggest names in the financial services industry — announced plans to establish or augment their activities around impact investing.
Friday, June 27, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India testing mobile-based payments system linked to Aadhaar national ID platform

Source: Business Standard

Despite uncertainty surrounding Aadhar's future, RBI is testing a mobile-based payments system linked to this platform
Thursday, June 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

As the World Bank Turns

Source: Huffington Post

Something exciting, almost revolutionary, is happening at one of the most conservative of the world's international institutions. The World Bank, which for decades has been criticized has overly focused on the construction of dams and other infrastructures as the cure for poverty, is turning its focus to the real engine of economic progress in the developing world: girls and women.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 — No Region Specified

Impact Investing: $1.5 Billion in Commitments and a New Resource for Policymakers

Source: Huffington Post Impact

It's a great week for impact investing. At the White House roundtable on impact investing today, corporations, banks, foundations, and individuals including Prudential, Capricorn Investment Group and the Omidiyar Network committed to invest more than $1.5 billion in new capital into companies and funds that strive to generate positive financial and social returns. US government agencies, including the Small Business Administration, USAID and Treasury, also announced programs to support impact investments and social enterprises.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 — South Asia

The Slumdog Millionaire Architect

Source: The New York Times

The offices of Hafeez Contractor, India’s most commercially successful architect, are on Bank Street, just around the corner from the Mumbai Stock Exchange.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Forget Bitcoin: There’s A Better Model For Mobile Money

Source: ReadWrite

It's called M-Pesa, and it's also spreading around the world.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

BitPesa set to launch in Nairobi

Source: HumanIPO

Kenyan startup BitPesa is set to formally launch in Nairobi next week, bidding to bring down the high transaction fees associated with international money remittance companies by taking advantage of the digital, borderless currency Bitcoin.
Friday, June 20, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

‘Mobile money, Bitcoin driving down African remittance costs’

Source: ITWeb Africa

Mobile money and digital currencies are being used to boost remittances into Africa and drive down the cost of sending money to the continent, experts said on Wednesday.
Thursday, June 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

How to manage all your financial affairs from a $20 mobile phone

Source: Quartz

“I feel like a caveman who’s just been handed a Bic lighter,” reported Charles Graeber, a writer for Bloomberg Businessweek who recently went to Nairobi to check out M-Pesa, Kenya’s dominant mobile-money provider.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

Bank of Ghana backs down on microfinance freeze

Source: Ghana Web

The Bank of Ghana says it has abandoned its initial plans to suspend the issuance of new operating licences to microfinance companies.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Mobile Money Services - Not Mobile Wallets - Will Lead To Financial Inclusion in India

Source: Light Reading India

Mobile wallet services have been around for quite some time now and have gained considerable traction. However, the broader genre of mobile money services are yet to etch a mark.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

BNP Paribas, Orange Partnership Reaffirms Growing Significance Of Mobile Money In Africa

Source: Ventures Africa

VENTURES AFRICA – UK-based telecom giant, Orange and the French banking group, BNP Paribas have teamed up to roll out mobile money services for Africans, joining the growing pool of mobile money providers and reaffirming the increasing prominence the innovative service is taking in the continent’s financial sector.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

M-SHWARI LAUNCHES A FIXED DEPOSIT ACCOUNT DUBBED LOCK

Source: Tech Moran

Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and Safaricom’s paperless banking service M-shwari has today launched a fixed deposit savings account dubbed “Lock Savings Account”, the first of its kind in the mobile money space aimed at helping Kenyans an opportunity to save for a specific purpose.
Monday, June 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Unbanked and cashless: why mobile wallets like M-Pesa are focusing on eastern Europe

Source: DW

Banks in Europe are rolling out mobile wallets and peer-to-peer payment apps originally developed for Africa in a bid to offer banking services to millions of eastern Europeans who are "unbanked."
Monday, June 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile Payment Transactions Hit N271 Billion in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

In spite of the initial apathy to the mobile payment initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), there are indications that the policy is gaining traction as the total value of mobile payments in the country amounted to N271 billion for 25 million transactions as at end of May.
Monday, June 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Reserve Bank of India’s relaxation of know-your-customer norms to boost financial inclusion

Source: Business Standard

Bankers and industry experts believe that this will not only bring migrant workers but also students and people with a transferable job in the banking fold
Friday, June 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile money remittances for Zimbabwean expats

Source: ITWeb Africa

Expat Zimbabweans now have an alternative remittance service thanks to Econet Wireless partnering with cash transfer firm WorldRemit on a mobile money offering.
Friday, June 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile Money Revolution Rises Cyber Security Risk In Africa

Source: AFK Insider

Africa is celebrated as the birth place of mobile money revolution, piloting the initiative that has seen more people come into the financial fold in many countries in the region and front running developed nations with much advanced form of financial inclusion.
Thursday, June 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

MFIs tapping capital market not a good idea: Yunus

Source: Business Standard

The Nobel laureate recommended granting MFIs special micro-credit banking licences to accept deposits
Thursday, June 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

World Bank, Firstmonie partner to advance mobile money in Nigeria

Source: HumanIPO

The World Bank through its subsidiary the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced a partnership with First Bank of Nigeria’s Firstmonie to advance mobile money services in Nigeria.
Thursday, June 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

This Credit Union in Disguise Is Helping Poor Latino Communities

Source: National Journal

Low-income Latinos often rely on predatory payday loans and high-priced check-cashing services. Savings accounts can change that.
Thursday, June 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Consumers Federation of Kenya’s fight with Equity Bank is bad for business

Source: Standard Digital

Kenya: When the Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) went to court seeking orders to cancel the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) licence issued to Equity Bank through its subsidiary for mobile services, Finserve Africa Limited, it seemed the idea was about more than getting justice for the consumer.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 — No Region Specified

My Day Without Banks

Source: National Journal

Lesson one from navigating the archipelago of check cashers, payday lenders, and discount store money desks: it’s expensive to be poor.
Monday, June 09, 2014 — No Region Specified

More evidence that giving poor people money is a great cure for poverty

Source: Vox Media

As solutions to global poverty go, "just give poor people money" is pretty rock solid.
Monday, June 09, 2014 — No Region Specified

Fighting Financial Exclusion: How To Serve 88 Million Americans Who Have No Bank

Source: Forbes

“Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor,” the great American author James Baldwin wrote in 1960.More than half a century later, his words ring true to the 46 million Americans who live below the poverty line and to the millions more who are struggling to stay above it.
Friday, June 06, 2014 — No Region Specified

Ten Days in Kenya With No Cash, Only a Phone

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Even farther into the country, a few miles from the Ugandan border in a town called Bungoma, I find Gertrude Wamalwa working her farm plot, a rust-colored scarf tied across her forehead and a machete in her leathered hands. Wamalwa and her Bungoma neighbors don’t appear to have any connection to mobile money.
Monday, June 02, 2014 — No Region Specified

In India, Telcos Ride Piggy Back on Migrant Workers, Bet Big on Mobile Money

Source: The New India Express

KOCHI: If the initial responses are any indication, the ubiquitous mobile phone is set to become a tool for financial inclusion in Ernakulam district.
Friday, May 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

CHINA SEES A SHARP INCREASE IN MOBILE PAYMENTS

Source: Mobile Commerce Press

NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS THE GROWTH OF MOBILE TRANSACTIONS IN CHINA
Friday, May 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: JPMorgan Chase & Co. Commits $30 Million to Establish Financial Solutions LabSM and Improve Financial Capability

Source: Market Watch

Led by the Center for Financial Services Innovation, the Lab intends to catalyze, test and scale promising innovations that help people increase savings, improve credit and build assets
Thursday, May 29, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s Virtual Operators Add Twist To Mobile Money Revolution

Source: AFK Insider

A move by the Kenya communication regulator to license three mobile virtual network operators (MNVO) – that don’t own their own communication infrastructure – is expected to expected to increase competition in the mobile money segment of the market that has been for the last couple of year dominated by a single player.
Thursday, May 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

World Bank Revamping Is Rattling Employees

Source: The New York Times

The World Bank, a famously bureaucratic institution, is undergoing its first restructuring in nearly two decades.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Landmark Agreement with MasterCard, Bank of Punjab Designed to Bring Financial Inclusion to Millions in Pakistan

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Landmark Agreement with MasterCard, Bank of Punjab will Issue Payment Cards to Citizens, Empowering the Unbanked Population
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile wallets struggle to gain currency in India

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Lack of customer awareness, restrictive rules are the stumbling blocks
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — No Region Specified

M-Pesa Rival Bitpesa Unveils Pilot of Bitcoin Remittance Service in Kenya

Source: AllAfrica

Kenya's BitPesa has launched a pilot or beta version of its solution which allows diaspora Kenyans to send money back home with ease and at affordable rates.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — No Region Specified

How Equity plans to take on Safaricom in mobile payments

Source: Standard Digital

Kenya: This Monday, Equity Bank will reveal its entry strategy into the telecoms industry. Analysts say this could be a turning in Kenya’s telecoms market. “ Equity Bank will on Monday, May 26, 2014 hold an investors’ and media briefing to unveil its MVNO strategy, report on progress of preparedness and rollout plan,” read an invite.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile offers brighter future for Africa's rural homes

Source: BBC News

John Kibet's home in rural Kenya is not linked to the country's electricity grid.
Thursday, May 22, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINON: South Africa’s mobile money success requires telco, bank collaboration

Source: ITWeb Africa

South African cellular companies must collaborate with banking institutions to ensure an increase in the uptake of mobile money services in the country, an Ericsson official has said.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

JPMorgan Chase announces $100M Detroit investment

Source: Yahoo! Finance

Financial giant JPMorgan Chase confirms plans to invest $100M in loans, grants into Detroit
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

IFC expands support to capital markets, access to finance and telecommunications in Rwanda

Source: WorldStage

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the private sector in Rwanda.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 — No Region Specified

PSI plans health app with Telenor, Ooredoo

Source: Myanmar Times

Improved mobile phone services could also bring more up-to-date health information, particularly for pregnant women. Population Services International, better known as PSI, is planning to launch a mobile health information service with telecom operators Ooredoo and Telenor, said Daniel Crapper, deputy country director of PSI Myanmar.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 — No Region Specified

Agent Banking as a Tool for Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh

Source: The Financial Express

After Independence, Bangladesh has come a long way in ensuring inclusive growth.
Monday, May 19, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile money use on the rise in West Africa

Source: PC Advisor

Various strategies are being used to encourage use of mobile money services
Monday, May 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

Smart, Citi tie-up for e-payments

Source: INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—The mobile money unit Smart Communications is partnering with Citibank Philippines, allowing clients to settle bills using mobile platforms, a statement showed.
Friday, May 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Vodacom Tanzania, CBA launch mobile money banking product

Source: HumanIPO

Vodacom Tanzania and Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) have launched a banking service named M-Pawa allowing Tanzanians to save and borrow money on their mobile phones.
Friday, May 16, 2014 — No Region Specified

Why Government Should Help Poor People Get Bank Accounts

Source: Governing

The former head of consumer affairs in New York City explains why helping the poor manage money more wisely would also help government manage their money more wisely.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Citi starts Latin American mobile startup challenge

Source: Banking Technology

Citi is hosting a major new mobile innovation competition in Latin America. Called the Mobile Challenge LatAm 2014, the competition aims to bring together individuals and companies with innovative ideas to create applications for Citi’s Latin America mobile banking platform.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Promoting Access to Finance in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

The introduction of the tiered Know-Your-Customer regime for potential bank customers will drive the country’s quest for improved access to finance, writes Obinna Chima In most developing countries, large population of low income earners has little access to financial services.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

Indian Mobile Payment Market Poised for Massive Growth

Source: Cisco

As an increasing number of Indian consumers obtain smartphones, experts are predicting more payments and money transfers will be made via mobile.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 — No Region Specified

CWC Launches Panama’s First Mobile Money Service

Source: Developing Telecoms

Cable & Wireless Panama (CWP) has launched MovilCash, Panama’s first mobile money service.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Progress Report Asks Governments To Promote Mobile Banking

Source: AFK Insider

A new report has urged African governments to emulate Kenya in supporting the development of mobile banking and electronic commerce to increase financial inclusion.
Monday, May 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

Tanzania: Mobile Money Services Register Boom

Source: AllAfrica

It is estimated that 2.5 billion people around the world are unbanked. They lack financial services needed to invest in their livelihoods, protect their assets, and avoid falling deeper into poverty.
Monday, May 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

How Non-Profits Are Cashing In on the Cryptocurrency Boom

Source: Motherboard

Bitcoin is often discussed as the backbone of the online drug trade, an interesting speculative investment, or simply a futuristic way to order pizza. But proponents say the cryptocurrency also has great potential for the nonprofit world.
Friday, May 09, 2014 — Asia Pacific

OPINION: New Chinese investment fund aims to rival World Bank and ADB

Source: The Economic Times

If you can't beat them, outspend them. That seems to be the thinking behind a huge new infrastructure investment fund being promoted by China as an alternative to established international lending agencies.
Friday, May 09, 2014 — No Region Specified

10-year-olds can open and operate a bank account alone, says Reserve Bank of India

Source: The Times of India

Children older than 10 years will no longer need the help of their parents or guardians to open and operate a savings bank account. To boost financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday said that banks were at liberty to allow minors above 10 years to independently open and operate savings bank accounts.
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 — No Region Specified

Making banking more secure, convenient through verification number

Source: Nigerian Tribune

The World Bank Group’s newly launched Global Financial Development Report 2014 on Financial Inclusion estimated that half the world’s adults, approximately 2.5 billion individuals, do not have an account with a formal financial institution.
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 — No Region Specified

Forget Banks: If Bitcoin Is Going To Change The World, Then This Is The Real Competition

Source: Business Insider

A central conceit of Bitcoin evangelists is that the cryptocurrency could be most useful to "the global unbanked."
Monday, May 05, 2014 — No Region Specified

JP Morgan & GIIN survey highlights higher impact investment commitments

Source: Investment Europe

Widespread commitment to allocate 19% more capital to impact investments in 2014 compared to 2013 revealed by JP Morgan and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) survey.
Monday, May 05, 2014 — South Asia

Indian microfinance bank Bandhan plans to open 600 branches

Source: The Hindu

Microfinance outfit Bandhan Financial Services Ltd., which got a banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India on April 9, is planning to open around 600 branches, its Chairman and Managing Director Chandra Sekhar Ghosh said.
Friday, May 02, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Philippines Using Postal Banks to Advance Financial Inclusion

Source: Philippine Information Agency

The Philippine Postal Savings Bank (Postbank) inaugurated Tuesday this week two branches of its Microfinance Banking Office (MBO) or Bangko sa Nayon in Albay alongside the government efforts to pursue inclusive growth particularly on the countryside.
Friday, May 02, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India May Allow MFIs to Function as Business Correspondents of Banks

Source: The Free Press Journal

However, the move has faced serious opposition from various departments in the central bank.
Thursday, May 01, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How Zidisha Sidestepped Banks and Took Microfinancing Peer-to-Peer

Source: Tech Republic

Microfinancing platform Zidisha is changing the way microlending works. By cutting out the middle man, they have drastically reduced interest rates for borrowers in the developing world.
Thursday, May 01, 2014 — No Region Specified

E-banking Central to Uruguay Financial Inclusion Law

Source: BN Americas

Electronic banking services will play a central role in Uruguay's new financial inclusion law, approved by the senate last week, local paper Espectador reported.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

9 telecoms announce interoperable mobile money

Source: Telecom Lead

Mobile money services have gained momentum with 9 telecoms — Airtel, Etisalat, Millicom, MTN, Ooredoo, Orange, STC, Vodafone, Zain – decided to accelerate the implementation of interoperable services across Africa and the Middle East.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 — South Asia

Opinion: How Aadhaar, India Post Can Transform India's Finance

Source: moneycontrol.com

In an episode, Raghav Bahl discussed the idea of setting up a new payments bank which could be a joint venture between Aadhar and India Post.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya: Have an Unpaid Water Bill? Kiss Getting Loans Goodbye

Source: Standard Digital Business

If you fail to pay your water, electricity or telephone bills, you will find it very difficult to borrow money from any financial institution.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 — Europe & Eurasia

Jamaica Micro Financing Association Urges Microfinancers to Lend to SMEs

Source: Jamaica Observer

Chairman the Jamaica Micro Financing Association (JaMFA) Hurshel Cyrus has challenged his colleagues to increase funding to the micro, small and medium-sized (MSME) sector.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: How to Keep the Asian Development Bank Relevant in a Changing Asia

Source: Devex

If any economist had said when the Asian Development Bank was founded, that in just 45 years China would become the world's second-largest economy and India the fourth in terms of purchasing power parity, he would have been dismissed.
Monday, April 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

The do's and don'ts of agent banking

Source: The Financial Express

Agent banking is now a buzzword in the banking industry. Its importance is immense in paving the way for financial inclusion. But, many of us, including bankers, still do not have a clear perception of agent banking, its services, risks and responsibility and other regulatory issues.
Friday, April 25, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Indian government and RBI should end their indecisiveness on financial inclusion

Source: Business Standard

Perhaps on no issue have the finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) been in concordance over the past several years - except for financial inclusion.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

The democratic disruption of finance

Source: The Guardian

Bitcoin is just one example of a process that will challenge regulators to adapt.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

ICD boosting activity in Africa to widen Islamic finance appeal

Source: Reuters

The private sector arm of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank [ISDBA.UL] plans to increase its activities in Africa, part of plans to widen the appeal of Islamic finance across the region, its chief executive said.
Monday, April 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

Postal bank test awaits new government in India

Source: The Telegraph India

he high profile spat between the Reserve Bank of India and the finance ministry over converting India’s loss-making 1.54 lakh post offices under India Post into a bank is likely to be one of the challenging issues that the next government will have to handle.
Monday, April 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mor panel's financial inclusion report may be put on back burner in India

Source: Business Standard

The Union finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have raised questions on viability and implementation of the recommendations made in the Nachiket Mor committee's report. The panel had, among other things, suggested a new banking structure to foster financial inclusion.
Monday, April 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

In India, Bandhan’s banking licence signals competition for rural microfinance

Source: Business Standard

According to MFIs operating in rural areas, private banks have been charging interest rates of 24-26 per cent on a reducing balance.
Monday, April 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Kenya officially gives green light to three mobile virtual network operators

Source: IT Web Africa

Kenya’s number of mobile money players could jump from four to seven after the country has officially awarded three mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences this week.
Friday, April 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

Value lending for MFIs to reduce risk

Source: The Financial Express

Tara Thiagarajan, chairman & MD of non-banking finance company-micro finance institution (NBFC-MFI) Madura Microfinance, is trying out a unique experiment.
Friday, April 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

Tigo partners with 17 banks on cash transfers

Source: Daily News

TIGO has partnered with 17 major banks in Tanzania to enable its clients send and receive money through transactions between the banks and Tigo Pesa.
Wednesday, April 09, 2014 — No Region Specified

‘Mobile money has moved from this new thing into an industry,’ says MasterCard

Source: How We Made It In Africa

Close to 70% of the world’s active mobile money customers are in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Aaron Oliver, head of emerging payments for Middle East and Africa at MasterCard.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014 — Latin America

Incofin Investment Management’s Rural Impulse Fund Acquires Equity Stake in FIELCO From Accion Gateway Fund

Source: MicroCapital

FIELCO expects to use Incofin IM’s expertise in international microfinance to “strengthen its governance, focus on social performance and overall structure”
Tuesday, April 08, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

OPINION: Only New Products Will Keep MFIs Growing in Rwanda

Source: allAfrica

Through innovation, it is possible for the sector to financially reach the unbanked population and drive home the EDPRS II objectives, especially in the rural areas.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money Security is Kenya’s Next Big Challenge

Source: IT Web Africa

Attention needs to be paid to the security of mobile money systems in Kenya especially with the licensing of three virtual network operators in the country, say experts.
Monday, April 07, 2014 — No Region Specified

Commercial banks in India increasingly targeting low-income borrowers

Source: Deccan Herald

At a time when microfinance institutions (MFIs) are getting into the banking business, commercial banks too have developed a liking for lending directly to the poor -- an area until now dominated by traditional MFIs and informal lenders.
Monday, April 07, 2014 — No Region Specified

India’s Bandhan aims to replicate its microfinance model as a full-fledged commercial bank

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Having started commercial micro-finance operations in 2005, Bandhan Financial Services Pvt Ltd is now set to become a full fledged commercial bank, headquartered in Kolkata. In an interview to Business Line, Chairman and Managing Director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh explains why Bandhan bank will bring a common man’s perspective into banking.
Friday, April 04, 2014 — No Region Specified

Why different parts of Africa have widely different levels of success with mobile banking

Source: Banking Technology

Why are different parts of Africa experiencing widely different levels of success with mobile banking, despite years of experience in Kenya? Panellists at the IPS conference in London offered a range of explanations
Friday, April 04, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Why RBI’s decision on a Post Bank of India is a slap for Finance Ministry

Source: First Post India

The RBI’s decision on Wednesday to “consider” the application of Department of Posts for a banking license “separately in consultation with the Government of India” is literally a slap in the face for the finance ministry.
Friday, April 04, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: The Reserve Bank of India's welcome conservatism

Source: Business Standard

More than four years after the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced the government's intention to issue more banking licences, this has indeed been done. In 2010, there was much fervour about financial inclusion and, against that backdrop, new banks were seen as an important means of boosting capacity and penetration of financial services.
Thursday, April 03, 2014 — South Asia

India Announces First Bank Licences in a Decade

Source: Global Post

India on Wednesday announced it was issuing two new bank licenses for the first time in a decade as it accelerates a push to bring more Indians into the formal banking system.
Thursday, April 03, 2014 — South Asia

Reorienting Financial Inclusion in India

Source: The Financial Express

Fixing small business finance is a great place to start improving financial inclusion. This is a reform that is overdue and should not wait.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014 — No Region Specified

World Bank to Appoint 'Global Practices' Directors This Week

Source: Devex

World Bank President Jim Kim announced on Monday that the appointment of senior directors of the bank’s “global practices” will be finalized later this week ahead of the institution’s spring meetings.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Vodafone Brings Africa's M-Pesa Mobile Money to Europe

Source: Reuters

The launch targets 7 M in Romania who mainly use cash and M-Pesa has 16.8 M active customers in emerging markets.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014 — Latin America

Sustaining Recent Social Progress May Require a Squeeze on the Rich

Source: The Economist

Latin Americans, the past dozen years have been remarkable. The region has seen a magical combination of faster economic growth, falling poverty and declining income inequality. Is this unprecedented period of progress over?
Friday, March 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banks Outshine Agriculture, Manufacturing in GDP Input in Rwanda

Source: All Africa

Prime Minister Pierre-Damien Habumuremyi, yesterday, presented to both chambers of Parliament highlights of the performance of the service industry with focus on financial institutions, noting that the country is on course to achieving its targeted financial inclusion.
Friday, March 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

What will new governor of Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank mean for mobile money?

Source: TechZim

If you were waiting, the wait is finally over, former CBZ chief and Economist Dr Mangudya will be the new substantive Governor of The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. This comes at a time when the government is making deliberate efforts to re-position the Reserve Bank as the engine of Zimbabwe’s economic recovery. The Herald reports that Dr Mangudya will assume his reigns at his new no. 80 Samora Machel Ave offices effective 1 May for what could be the first of two five year terms.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Central Bank of Nigeria gives room for microfinance bank mergers and acquisitions

Source: Business Day

There is an expectation of stronger microfinance banks (MFBs) in the country if the micro institutions that could not meet with their recapitalisation requirements, successfully engage and conclude with mergers and acquisition as they are directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Ministry’s scepticism, Aadhaar issues hang over Nachiket Mor financial inclusion plan in India

Source: Live Mint

The finance ministry has questioned the practicality of some recommendations made by a panel formed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to promote financial inclusion, including a 1 January 2016 deadline it has set for making an Aadhaar-linked bank account available to every adult Indian.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Ghana’s Fidelity Bank inaugurates agency banking

Source: Ghana Web

Fidelity Bank has inaugurated its new banking model, known as Fidelity Agency banking, which allows the bank to use shops and supermarkets as bank agents, called as Fidelity Smart Agents.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: India’s Mor Report on Financial Inclusion Doesn’t Focus Enough on Expanding Access to Credit

Source: Business Standard

The Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low-Income Households (the Nachiket Mor Committee on financial inclusion) has delivered a detailed report in a very short time.
Monday, March 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banks, Corruption and Crypto: Can Bitcoin Change India?

Source: CoinDesk

Last December, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a warning on digital currencies noting that the bank had not yet authorized any organisation in India to use cryptocurrencies as a method of payment.
Monday, March 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

Saving Nigeria’s micro-finance banking sector

Source: The Sun

The recent approval of the liquidation of 83 micro-finance banks (MFBs) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is bad news from the banking sector. It is worrisome that as many as 83 of these institutions are going under, barely four years after 224 of them were declared insolvent in 2010, with attendant negative implications for depositors’ funds.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

Indian banks develop a liking for microlending

Source: Live Mint

India’s microlending industry, dominated by traditional microfinance institutions (MFIs), is witnessing a re-emergence of interest from commercial banks, which are targeting low-income borrowers.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Accion Microfinance Bank Share capital Reaches N1.205bn in Nigeria

Source: Business Day Online Nigeria

The micro finance bank’s robust financial base reflects on over N21.7billion disbursed in loans to more than 110,000 customers since inception.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 — South Asia

Indian Microfinance Body Seeks RBI Nod for Self-regulatory Status

Source: The Times of India

Last year, the RBI had released guidelines on self-regulation by MFIs in accordance with the recommendations of the Malegam panel set up by the apex bank earlier to look into regulatory aspects of micro-lending following the Andhra Pradesh microfinance crisis of 2010.
Monday, March 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Kenya leads African peers in financial access

Source: Standard Digital

Kenya has taken a great leap forward to enjoy better financial access compared to her peers in the continent. The country claims the second highest level of financial inclusion only after South Africa.
Monday, March 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Addressing financial exclusion in Pakistan

Source: Business Recorder

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has adopted a multi-pronged and long-term strategy to address financial exclusion through structured policy and regulatory actions besides market-development interventions.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

American Express Spotlights the Issue of Financial Exclusion in Davis Guggenheim Doc "Spent"

Source: Fast Co.Create

Part of a larger Amex initiative to address financial inclusion, Spent: Looking for Change reveals the dismal state of basic banking service access for many Americans.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Reserve Bank of India to issue much-awaited banking licenses to reshape banking sector

Source: DNA India

The next generation of banking structure will be the first step to a thousand mile journey to make India the third largest banking economy in the world. The issue of "on-tap" new banking licenses will prove to be a game changer for the Indian banking industry.
Friday, March 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

The World Bank Gets An Overhaul — And Not Everyone's Happy

Source: NPR

The World Bank, the largest international development institution, is undergoing a sweeping reorganization, the first of its kind for the bank in nearly a generation. The bank, based in Washington, has laid out a new set of goals, but they're accompanied by deep budget cuts and the elimination of a whole layer of senior management jobs.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile payment solution from First Bank of Nigeria Ltd secures U.S. $12 Million from Gates Foundation

Source: All Africa

In apparent move to boost the nation's financial inclusion drive, the mobile payment solution from First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, Firstmonie has secured a grant of $12million US dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to execute the project.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

FinScope reveals significant increase in financial services inclusion in South Africa

Source: EPROP

FinMark Trust annual FinScope South Africa 2013 survey results reveals a significant increase in financial inclusion compared to last year from 28.9 million people in 2012, to 30.7 million in 2013.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Islamic Microfinance can eradicate poverty in Muslim world

Source: Pakistan Observer

Half of global poverty resides in Muslim world while the Muslim population is 24% of the total global population, if the dangerously increasing poverty in the Muslim community is not controlled soon then it will be alarming. These concerns were addressed by Muhammad Zubair Mughal, Chief Executive Officer, AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics while speaking at Islamic Microfinance Symposium held at Tunis and organized by Tunis Association of Islamic Economics with association of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and German Donor Agency GIZ.
Thursday, March 06, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Central Bank of Nigeria Approves Liquidation of 83 Microfinance Banks – NDIC

Source: Mobile Punch Nigeria

The Managing Director, Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, on Tuesday said that the Central Bank of Nigeria had approved the liquidation of 83 licensed microfinance banks.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 — No Region Specified

American Bankers Association and Operation HOPE to collaborate to maximize youth and adult empowerment

Source: ConsumerElectronics.net

The American Bankers Association and Operation HOPE announced a new partnership to expand financial literacy empowerment, economic energy, and good credit for youth and adults over the next two years.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 — South Asia

Mobile banking key to financial inclusion in Bangladesh

Source: The Daily Star

Mobile banking is the perfect platform for Bangladesh to take financial services to the country's largely unbanked population in an efficient and low-cost manner, an analyst from Visa said.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda accuses World Bank of aid blackmail

Source: Business Day

Uganda accused the World Bank of blackmail on Friday after the lender stalled a $90m loan over the east African nation’s adoption of a draconian anti-gay law.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 — South Asia

Indian banks gung-ho about financial inclusion, but not agents

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Financial inclusion is not yet a profitable proposition, but banks remain gung-ho about the initiative, predicting future dividends from the market reach that comes with improved access to finance.
Monday, March 03, 2014 — No Region Specified

What if America's unbanked had mobile wallets?

Source: CNN Money

Delivering financial services to the world's unbanked masses is not a topic that usually includes a developed economy like the United States. That's because Africa is the global leader in this area. Its mobile network operators are boosting their bottom lines and raising standards of living by offering mobile wallets to the unbanked -- making it possible to conduct a variety of transactions from person-to-person money transfers to bill payments and point-of-sale purchases.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile banking spreading to Asia and Latin America

Source: SciDevNet

Mobile money services for people without access to the traditional financial system are spreading at an increasing pace beyond Africa, according to a report released yesterday (24 February) at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 — No Region Specified

MTN and Ecobank offer Ghana subscribers access to cardless ATM services

Source: HumanIPO

MTN Ghana has partnered with Ecobank for the extension of cardless services to the bank’s ATMs across Ghana, allowing more than two million mobile money subscribers in the country to withdraw from Ecobank ATMs without using a card.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's Equity Bank Seeks Share of Telco Business

Source: Daily Nation

An Equity Bank branch in Dadaab. In a move likely to upset the apple­cart in the telecom sector, Equity Bank has applied for a license to operate a mobile telephone business.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 — South Asia

Mastercard Exec Discusses Business Opportunities and Challenges in India

Source: Live Mint

India has some challenges because it is such a huge country. The population is divided into different strata of people whom you are trying to reach out to.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 — South Asia

Indian bank launches “Branch on Wheels”

Source: My Iris

The 'Branch on Wheels' is a first of its kind initiative by any private sector bank in India.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Visa Partners with Airtel in Kenya to Launch Global Mobile Money Visa Card

Source: Tech Moran

According to Visa’s Head of Emerging Products & Innovation for Africa, Dougie Henderson said: “This strategic partnership with Airtel and Chase Bank brings the benefits of electronic payments to the under banked in Kenya by being innovative in mobile money services.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

Myanmar caps microfinance loans at $500, sparking MFI concerns about small business growth

Source: International Business Times

A new directive in Myanmar caps microfinance (MFI) loans at $500, which has the sector worried that small business growth could be stifled even as it expands its role within the Southeast Asian economy.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

Central Bank of Nigeria refutes report of imminent shutdown of 600 microfinance banks

Source: WorldStage Group

The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN on Tuesday refuted a recent report that 600 microfinance banks (MFBs) were facing imminent shutdown. According to a statement by the apex bank, its Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department (OFISD), Mr. Olufemi Fabamwo was quoted as saying that the story was totally untrue and misleading.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Fears Of China's Shadow Banking Implosion Are Overblown

Source: Forbes

When China Commercial Credit, Inc. planned its IPO on NASDAQ last August, it had to cut the deal size twice because of weak investor appetite. The company ended up raising $8.9 million, only half of its original target.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 — South Asia

Payment Banks as Financial Levellers

Source: Live Mint

Payment banks and universal electronic bank accounts can bring about genuine financial inclusion
Monday, February 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Chinese microcredit firm moves into online P2P lending

Source: South China Morning Post

China Commercial Credit, the only mainland microcredit firm listed in the United States, will become the first such company to venture into peer-to-peer (P2P) lending as part of moves to expand beyond its base in Jiangsu province.
Monday, February 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Tech advancements have made India’s banks more vibrant

Source: Economic Times

Over the past decade, the Indian banking sector has seen remarkable progress. It is clearly indicated by their healthy business growth, fast-paced credit expansion and profitability along with control over non-performing assets (NPAs).
Friday, February 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Are Kenya's mobile banking services unfair?

Source: CNN Money

Safaricom's latest venture M-Shwari hits a speed bump, threatening Kenya's leadership in the global race for mobile money and banking adoption.
Friday, February 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Column: E-nabling financial inclusion

Source: The Financial Express

The imperative for financial inclusion is both a moral one as well as one based on economic efficiency. Should we not give everyone that is capable the tools and resources to better themselves, and in doing so, better the country?
Friday, February 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Private banks go offbeat to make inclusion effective

Source: Business Standard

A decade ago, financial inclusion was merely a regulatory compulsion for most private banks in the country. But now many of them have stepped up efforts to improve the penetration of banking services, notwithstanding their disagreement over Nachiket Mor committee's recommendations on financial inclusion.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile cash delights tithe-eager pastors in Zimbabwe

Source: New Zimbabwe

PENTECOSTAL churches in Zimbabwe have moved to take advantage of mobile phone penetration rates now said to be about 103.5 percent and the introduction of mobile money platforms to ease their tithe worries.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

Paying for Results: Can Banks and Investors Finance Social Success?

Source: The Guardian

Non-profits for everything from homelessness to pre-school have gone to investors to impose capitalist discipline on programs
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India Eases Lending Norms for Microfinance Institutions

Source: Live Mint

Move gives more leeway to medium-sized micro lenders to price their loans based on their cost borrowings
Friday, February 07, 2014 — No Region Specified

Don't charge to enlarge: the effect of interest rate changes on microfinance access

Source: The Economist

A STORY in the finance section this week looks at what has happened to microfinance interest rates. To summarise briefly: we argue that as microfinance for the very poorest borrowers has expanded, microfinance institutions (MFIs) have had to raise their rates. As MFIs target poorer, less reliable customers, they need to charge higher rates to cover increased defaults and steeper funding costs.
Thursday, February 06, 2014 — No Region Specified

Will T-Mobile be able to sort out America's personal finance woes?

Source: Main St

Not content with conquering one industry, the Seattle-based mobile network company is moving into the realms of personal finance
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Insolvency among microfinance banks could hamper Nigeria’s financial inclusion strategy

Source: Business Day

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) financial inclusion strategy targets a reduction of adult population financially excluded from 46 percent to 20 percent by the year 2020. This objective cannot be achieved completely without active involvement of microfinance banks (MFBs) operating in the country.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Authors reveal how banks fought hard to kill M-Pesa

Source: The Star Kenya

Kenyan banks fought tooth and nail to have M-Pesa shut down one year after its launch as its popularity was spreading like bushfire and posed a threat to their operations, a new book launched last evening reveals.
Tuesday, February 04, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banking for All - Drive to ensure world's poor have access to accounts

Source: This Is Money

For banks, there is the chance to harvest the deposits of millions of new customers and establish a presence in small but fast-growing markets.
Monday, February 03, 2014 — No Region Specified

Faster networks to drive mobile money

Source: Business Day

THE roll-out of super-fast mobile networks will aggressively drive the uptake of mobile money services, as research by MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce, shows a quarter of users say they do not make mobile payments because "the network is too slow".
Friday, January 31, 2014 — No Region Specified

In India, Nachiket Mor defends the need for specialized banks

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Nachiket Mor, Chairman of the RBI's committee on financial inclusion, strongly defended the need to have specialised banks compared to new full service banks. He said that the idea of financial inclusion will be better served in the medium term if specialised banks such as payments only banks and lending only banks are allowed to flourish.
Thursday, January 30, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Branches Will Never Result In 100% Financial Inclusion in India

Source: CXO Today

India has just 110 branches per million persons, compared with the USA which has more than 300 branches per million persons, and Spain which has an incredible 900 branches per million persons, with the next nearest in the EU being Italy with 650/mm.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Payment banks could promote financial inclusion in India

Source: Live Mint

Payment banks will be a bank in every respect except that it can’t lend, thus removing the risk of leverage.
Friday, January 24, 2014 — No Region Specified

MasterCard encourages debit, pre-paid cards to advance financial inclusion in India

Source: The Financial Express

With a high growth potential, debit and pre-paid cards can be used to accelerate financial inclusion and reaching out to rural India, a senior MasterCard Worldwide official said here today.
Thursday, January 23, 2014 — South Asia

Opinion: Statistical illusions do not make a reality for financial inclusion in India

Source: The Economic Times

For financial inclusion to be meaningful, it is necessary that people not only have a bank account but also have access to timely and adequate credit at an affordable cost
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Banks feud with Zimbabwe’s biggest telco

Source: allAfrica

The sources say the situation, if not resolved, promises to get messy, as indications are that the banks would stop transacting with Steward Bank on the RTGS platform.
Friday, January 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: A shaky vision for financial inclusion in India

Source: Live Mint

The Nachiket Mor committee report does not address the issues that militate against financial inclusion.
Friday, January 17, 2014 — No Region Specified

Playing the Odds on Saving

Source: The New York Times

Americans’ lack of savings has become a crisis. Our confidence that we’ve got enough saved for retirement is at historically low levels, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s annual Retirement Confidence Survey. More than a quarter of Americans have saved less than $1,000 for retirement. Only half of those surveyed say they could definitely find $2,000 if an emergency arose in the next month.
Thursday, January 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa: Leveraging the Continent's Resources to Finance Vital Infrastructure

Source: allAfrica

The African Development Bank has a triple-A designation from international credit rating firms and has tripled its capital base since 2010.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Smartphone uptake boosts mobile banking

Source: Human IPO

The growing demand for smartphones, mass adoption of cashless services and hotspot services that provide free Wi-fi to customers has resulted in the expansion of the mobile wallet industry, according to a new report.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Growth Of Payroll Cards Brings Financial Inclusion For Unbanked Americans

Source: Yuma Arizona News

According to a recent Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) survey, more than 68 million Americans live day to day in a cash-only economy.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Will Nigerians embrace mobile money in 2014 ?

Source: National Mirror

In the bid to deepen financial inclusion across the country, financial institutions and mobile money service providers are introducing resourceful methods of bringing the unserved populations into the formal economy by using mobile phones but Nigerians appear unfazed about the mobile money mantra.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 — South Asia

Financial inclusion in India: The march of banks

Source: The Financial Express

People are yet to see a bank in their neighbourhood. But RBI is set to change all that.
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 — No Region Specified

Reserve Bank of India panel suggests new set of banks for financial inclusion

Source: Live Mint

RBI panel headed by Nachiket Mor also seeks universal electronic bank account for all adult Indian citizens by January 2016.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 — South Asia

What prompts banks to cut home loan rates in India?

Source: The Economic Times

Top three home loan institutions- HDFC, SBI, ICICI Bank - have reduced home loan rates by 15-25 basis points last week to catch borrowers in a fiercely competitive market. Their offerings are only for new loans though.
Saturday, December 28, 2013 — No Region Specified

What prompts banks to cut home loan rates?

Source: Economic Times

Top three home loan institutions- HDFC, SBI, ICICI Bank - have reduced home loan rates by 15-25 basis points last week to catch borrowers in a fiercely competitive market. Their offerings are only for new loans though.
TAGS:banking
Friday, December 20, 2013 — No Region Specified

Mobile money dims use of debit cards in Kenya

Source: Standard Digital

The use of payment cards in Kenya has shrunk despite the rising number of people acquiring the cards. This is after users stifled use of the cards since the start of the year, with the value of transactions registering a huge decline.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 — No Region Specified

Ecuador will increase electrification in rural and isolated areas using renewable energy

Source: Press Release

At least 350 families in the Amazon region of Ecuador will use solar energy provided by an IDB-GEF pilot project.
TAGS:banking
Monday, December 16, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion Gets to Lagos Slum

Source: This Day Live

Sterling Bank’s recent extension of its financial services, through the agent banking model to Makoko, a slum area in Lagos, has attracted a lot of attention.
Friday, December 13, 2013 — No Region Specified

Is Bitcoin’s Newest Competitor JPMorgan Chase?

Source: Bank Innovation

JPMorgan Chase made waves today with the filing — or re-filing — of a patent application for a payments platform that includes “virtual cash.”
Thursday, December 12, 2013 — No Region Specified

Access to Basic Banking Is a Crisis for 40 Million Americans

Source: Time Magazine

Some 2.5 billion people have no access to basic financial products like insurance and credit cards. Fixing that would fix a lot of the world's poverty problems.
Thursday, December 12, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Banking Moves Ahead in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

As a result of the innovation in the Nigerian payment system, mobile phones have rapidly become a major medium for banking and payment for transactions, writes Nume Horsfall.
Monday, December 09, 2013 — No Region Specified

Big banks see rich opportunities in world's poorest

Source: Reuters

When the Afghan government used mobile phones instead of cash to pay some of its policemen, the officers thought they'd just had a 30 percent pay rise. In truth, they had just been paid the full amount, with nothing skimmed off by middlemen, for the first time.
Monday, December 09, 2013 — No Region Specified

Mobile banking: will Kenya export its revolution to India?

Source: Paris Tech Review

The rise of a new generation of technologies performing many financial transactions from mobile phones is a game-changer, opening a new avenue for development. Kenya is probably the best model on the continent. But only specific conditions made it possible. Can this model be exported?
Thursday, December 05, 2013 — South Asia

Mobile Payments Gain Traction Among India’s Poor

Source: THe New York Times

South Asia is a fertile market for the concept. The region consisting primarily of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan accounts for the largest number of offices actively providing mobile money services, 3.8 million compared with 805,000 in all of Africa and 1.8 million in East Asia and the Pacific.
Monday, December 02, 2013 — No Region Specified

A Goat Or An ATM?

Source: Business World

Financial inclusion efforts in India have achieved much but remain hobbled by the lack of an effective impact assessment framework.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 — South Asia

HCBL Bank targetting beggars for financial inclusion

Source: Business Standard

Probably the only bank catering to this segment, so far
Monday, November 25, 2013 — No Region Specified

Banks in Nepal are building interoperable mobile money offerings

Source: GSMA

In Nepal, two 3rd party initiatives are attempting to bring together the banks and offer the tools needed for them to successfully operate mobile money. The banking sector in Nepal is fragmented with not one bank having double digit market share.
Monday, November 25, 2013 — No Region Specified

Expanding mobile money programmes in Kenya

Source: Oxford Business Group

Over the past six years, Kenya has posted significant growth in mobile phone financial services – a sector that it has in many ways helped to pioneer – and the medium-term outlook looks equally encouraging as operators move to offer traditional banking products such as savings accounts and loans. With the sector gradually converging with conventional financial services, the central bank is moving to strengthen its regulatory oversight, which could alter market dynamics.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 — South Asia

India launches first bank exclusively for women

Source: Trust.org

India launched its first public sector bank catering for women on Tuesday, an initiative aimed at economically empowering millions of women across the country who do not have access to basic financial services such as bank accounts or loans.
Monday, November 18, 2013 — No Region Specified

Changing trends: Technological developments in Pakistan’s banking sector

Source: The Express Tribune

Technological advances are quickly changing the face of the Pakistani banking industry. Alternative channels are growing quickly and represent a sizable portion of banks’ revenue streams as all banks as well as mobile network operators are jumping on the ‘branchless banking’ bandwagon.
Monday, November 18, 2013 — No Region Specified

Indian banking at a crossroads

Source: Business Standard

Indian banking is clearly at a turning point. Some of the key changes we will see in the next few years could push the sector into a new orbit. It will force the existing players to be more efficient in their operations and in their allocation of capital. Given the level of interference public sector banks face, they are likely to fall even further behind their private sector competitors.
Thursday, November 14, 2013 — South Asia

Mobile banking clients cross 10m mark in Bangladesh

Source: Dhaka Tribune

“The milestone has been achieved in just three years, contributing a lot to the financial inclusion initiative”
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 — No Region Specified

Telecoms firms pin hopes on mobile banking

Source: IOL News

Cellular operators want to open up their networks for more banking transactions as they have pinned their hopes on mobile money to grow revenues in the future. According to Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson’s sub-Saharan African regional head, the most downloaded mobile apps in Africa now were banking apps. Social networks were the second most downloaded.
Thursday, November 07, 2013 — No Region Specified

New Micro Lending Program to Pump Cash into Detroit

Source: Fox Business

Amid the Motor City’s ongoing bankruptcy eligibility trial, the launch of a new lending program is likely welcomed news for Detroit small businesses.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013 — South Asia

In India, what drives private banks’ interest in rural areas?

Source: Live Mint

The rapid increase of rural incomes and consumption with a shift in expenditure patterns has altered business perceptions
Friday, November 01, 2013 — No Region Specified

Mobile Devices Alone Won't Solve American Financial Inclusion Problem

Source: American Banker

Mobile services would alleviate friction and save time for underserved, low-income consumers. But convenience won't necessarily transform the financially excluded into the financially included.
Friday, November 01, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money Comes To Ethiopia

Source: African Business Magazine

Ethiopia lags far behind its East African neighbours in the development of its telecommunications sector and the services that the system now routinely provides elsewhere. This is about to change with the rollout of the country’s first mobile money transfer system this January
Thursday, October 24, 2013 — South Asia

Indian Banks complete first phase of financial inclusion

Source: Business Standard

Commercial banks have achieved the target of providing banking outlets to all villages in Karnataka, with a population of over 2,000 people.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 — Asia Pacific

Alibaba issues China’s first microloan securitization

Source: The Asahi Shimbun

Orient Securities and Alibaba have issued the nation’s first securitized product backed by microloans.
Monday, October 21, 2013 — South Asia

Inclusion — don’t count on banks

Source: The Hindu Business Line

We need thousands of small private sector financial intermediaries for promoting financial inclusion.
Monday, October 21, 2013 — No Region Specified

The High Cost, for the Poor, of Using a Bank

Source: The New Yorker

There have been a lot of reports lately on the growing numbers of people without bank accounts, and on those who have accounts but continue to use alternative financial services such as payday loans. All this has convinced policy makers and many consumer advocates that low- and moderate-income people are victims of “financial exclusion.” They have therefore concentrated on moving these people to banks. The numbers of “unbanked” and “underbanked” people are indeed growing. Seventeen million people nationwide are unbanked, up from ten million in 2002; forty-three million are underbanked.
Friday, October 18, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: 'Ensuring Universal Access to Financial Services Key Priority'

Source: The New Times - allAfrica

Increasing access to financial services is one of the Government's priorities as Rwanda looks to ensure a self-reliant populace, John Rwangombwa, the central bank governor, has said. "Rwanda's vision is to ensure financial inclusion, especially for the rural masses. In fact, we have made significant progress towards this target. So far, we have been able to double formal financial inclusion from 21 per cent of adults in 2008 to 42 per cent as at the end of last year," Rwangombwa noted.
Thursday, October 10, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria: Microfinance Banks Need More Financial Empowerment

Source: All Africa

The Managing Director, Fortis Micofinance Bank Plc, Mr. Kunle Oketikun has called for more financial empowerment for Nigerians.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Easing Nigeria's Banking Gridlock

Source: The Africa Report

The past decade of banking in Nigeria has not been for the faint hearted.
Thursday, October 03, 2013 — No Region Specified

Migrants from developing countries to send home $414 billion in earnings in 2013

Source: The World Bank

The developing world is expected to receive $414 billion in migrant remittances in 2013, an increase of 6.3 percent over the previous year.
Thursday, October 03, 2013 — South Asia

India's Banks not Inclusive Enough

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Are commercial banking (as it is currently practiced in India) and attainment of financial inclusion mutually exclusive?
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Millennium Development goals in rural Africa get $100 million boost

Source: RYOT.org

In 2011, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Earth Institute (Columbia University) formed a partnership to work with African nations to support their efforts to end extreme poverty. On Tuesday, the IsDB and the Earth Institute and its partner, Millennium Promise, announced that the IsDB and its poverty reduction arm, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), have now extended more than $100 million in financing to help eight African nations combat extreme poverty, improve public health and achieve more sustainable development.
Thursday, August 08, 2013 — South Asia

Financial Inclusion is an Opportunity: BR Shetty

Source: Forbes India

The chairman of the UAE Exchange wants to improve financial literacy among those in the bottom of the economic pyramid
Friday, August 02, 2013 — No Region Specified

Banker Saves 20,000 From Nepal to Uganda With Her Profits

Source: Bloomberg

Amid the cloying dust, blaring car horns and beggars’ wails that echo through the ancient streets of Kathmandu, Nepal, a familiar sound emerges: the strains of pop star Psy’s “Gangnam Style.”
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 — No Region Specified

With Skoll Foundation Support, Citi Provides Financing for Innovative Social Enterprise KickStart International

Source: Daily Finance

Citi Microfinance and Citi Commercial Bank today announced US$2,000,000 in financing to support KickStart International, a non-profit social enterprise that designs, manufactures, and sells high quality, low-cost irrigation pumps for use by smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 — South Asia

Vikram Akula eyes a comeback to SKS Microfinance

Source: Hindustan Times

Vikram Akula, the one-time poster boy of microfinance in India and founder-chairman of SKS Microfinance, is trying to make a comeback to the very company he founded in 1998 but had lost control two years ago.
Monday, July 29, 2013 — No Region Specified

New legislation to regulate micro finance companies

Source: The Sunday Times

Legislation to regulate and supervise microfinance institutions, including finance companies and banks accepting deposits from the public, will be introduced in Parliament.
Monday, June 10, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

AfDB Signs a Usd 100 Million Risk Participation Agreement With Commerzbank Ag to Support Trade Finance in Africa

Source: AllAfrica

The African Development Bank (AfDB) formally signed on May 29th in Marrakech, Morocco, in the prelude of the 48th AfDB Annual Meetings, a USD 100 million unfunded Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) with Commerzbank AG under which the two banks will share the default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African issuing banks in Africa and confirmed by Commerzbank AG.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 — South Asia

Vodafone Aims to Replicate M-Pesa’s Success in India

Source: Knowledge@Wharton Network

M-Pesa, the mobile-based money transfer and payment service that has been highly successful in Kenya since its launch in 2007, is now available in India by Vodafone, working through its fully-owned subsidiary Mobile Commerce Solutions Ltd (MCSL), and ICICI bank, the country’s largest private sector bank.
Friday, May 10, 2013 — Sub-Saharan Africa

In Africa, the best 'charity' is aid for business

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

The traditional approach to solving Africa’s problems has been to rely on charity and aid – free money, more or less. And while charity has done much good for millions across the continent in terms of food security, health care, emergency response, and education, its chief weakness is that its results have not proven sustainable. Africa finds itself continually going back to donors simply to maintain the status quo. What the continent really needs is to create the environment – political, economic, and social – to achieve self-sufficiency.
Monday, February 04, 2013 — North Africa and Near East

In Pakistan, Savings Circles Beat Banks

Source: Bloomberg Business Week

Ali has been selling wall clocks and wristwatches in a crowded Karachi market for 15 years. He’s been participating in savings circles with fellow shopkeepers for just as long, and has used the proceeds to buy a car and acquire a new store. Now he’s a few months away from getting 400,000 rupees ($4,100) from a savings group of 16 shopkeepers into which he’s been paying 1,000 rupees a day for almost a year. He plans to put a down payment on an apartment. “This system is flawless,” says Ali, 35, who goes by one name. “You can never save this way without this binding commitment of making payments every day or every month. At banks there are hassles and procedures that waste time. This is simple. The organizer comes to collect the money himself, and because of the trust element, it’s a given that we’ll get the money.”
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