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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, August 28, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa Shines in Financial Inclusion Report

Source: BDlive

SAS CORES high on a global index measuring progress in financial inclusion in emerging markets.
Friday, August 28, 2015 — South Asia

Tough Challenges Await India's Chandrashekhar Ghosh's Bandhan in Its Commercial Bank Avtaar

Source: Firstpost

On Sunday, Kolkata-based microfinance institution (MFI), Bandhan Financial Services formally converted itself into a full service commercial bank, thus becoming the latest private sector bank in the country. Bandhan is one of the two entities, which were given full-service banking licences by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in April, 2014, from a list of 25 aspirants that included big business houses. The other is IDFC.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

9 African Countries That Score Highest for Financial Inclusion

Source: AFKInsider

Mobile technology has accelerated financial inclusion for the so-called under served — people with inadequate access to traditional banking institutions — according to a newly released Brookings report.
Thursday, August 27, 2015 — South Asia

50th Microfinance Institution Launched in Cambodia

Source: Khmer Times

The Royal Microfinance institution launched its operations in Cambodia on Thursday, bringing the total number of micro-lenders in the kingdom to 50.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — South Asia

What payments banks, Bandhan can do for financial inclusion in India

Source: Daily O

There have two big developments in financial inclusion in the country in the past few days, whose significance stands out despite the din arising from the recent global stock market crash.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

OPINION: Safaricom plays hardball in Equitel-M-Pesa Battle

Source: All Africa

In one single move, Safaricom has potentially pulled the rug from under Equity Bank's poorly hidden plan to eat their lunch, dinner and breakfast.
Friday, August 21, 2015 — South Asia

Indian government committed to reviving postal department through payments banking

Source: Times of India

Communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said the government will revive the postal department by using over 1.5 lakh post offices for furthering financial inclusion.
Friday, August 21, 2015 — South Asia

OPINION: Payments Banks - A game-changing idea for financial inclusion in India

Source: Business Insider

Over the next decade or so, payment banks' functioning has the potential to bring about another revolution in the banking sector.
Thursday, August 20, 2015 — South Asia

Indian mobile operators feature strongly among 'payments bank' license winners

Source: Mobile World Live

Bidders linked to the country’s top three mobile operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular – as well as newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm and Telenor were among eleven winners of payments bank licenses in India.
Thursday, August 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenyan banks take on M-PESA in fight for money transfer billions

Source: The Daily Nation

Kenya Bankers Association plans to launch an interbank mechanism to enable interoperability across member banks for all retail payment streams, aiming to eat into M-PESA’s market share.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — South Asia

India's MFI credit bureaus comb client data to smooth microloans

Source: Live Mint

Three years after India’s first credit bureau for microfinance institutions (MFIs) opened shop, teething troubles continue to prevent lenders and borrowers from making full use of it.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — South Asia

China Retreats to Financial Shadows to Boost Economic Growth

Source: Reuters

On a sweltering day in August, the towering ferris wheel and massive roller coaster of China's Jiyanghu Ecological Park, a two-hour train ride from Shanghai, stand eerily silent.
Monday, August 17, 2015 — South Asia

State Bank of India to launch mobile wallet

Source: DNA India

India’s largest lender, State Bank of India is slated to launch its mobile wallet, SBI Buddy, on Tuesday.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

M-Pesa and the Rise of the Global Mobile Money Market

Source: Forbes

Most people probably don’t think of Kenya as an innovation and technology hub, but in 2007 it became the launching pad for M-Pesa, a transformativemobile phone-based platform for money transfer and financial services. Since then, M-Pesa has undergone explosive growth: in 2013, a staggering 43 percent of Kenya’s GDP flowed through M-Pesa, with over 237 million person-to-person transactions. M-Pesa is nearly ubiquitous in the daily lives of Kenyans due to a range of services that include money deposit and withdrawal, remittance delivery, bill payment, and microcredit provision.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — Latin America

Ecuador Is the World's First Country With a Public Digital Cash System

Source: Co.Exist

The runaway success of mobile money products like M-Pesa, which first took off in Kenya, has inspired dozens of copycats around the world. Many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America now have services allowing people to store and transfer money using their cellphones. But there's something different about Ecuador's new Sistema de Dinero Electrónico. It's being operated not by a private phone carrier or financial company, but Ecuador's left-leaning government.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Rising Fintech Investment in Asia Suggests Room for Bitcoin Opportunities

Source: News BTC

More and more companies are tapping into the Asian market when it comes to financial technology investment, as the region has seen growth in remittances while some countries have weak banking sectors. This opens up a market gap that could make room for bitcoin opportunities later on.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — Latin America

Latin America: Low-Income Millennials Present Big Market Opportunities

Source: Forbes

Hardly a day passes without a new article on how businesses are analyzing the needs, wants and spending trends of millennials. In the US alone, millennials (or Generation Y), those born between 1980 and 2000, represent 30 percent of the population. By 2025 they will be 75 percent of the workforce.The impact that millennials are starting to have on the global economy, the environment, and politics is enormous.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — South Asia

Visa to launch payments service for mobile phones in September in India

Source: MediaNama

Close on the the heels of MasterCard launching a digital wallet for Citibank India customers, rival global payments gateway Visa will be starting a new payments service for Indian customers in September.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — Asia Pacific

OPINION: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank - Much ado about very little

Source: DevPolicy Blog

For the AIIB to be an effective political instrument, it needs to be a successful financial and development institution. That will be very hard to fully pull off.
Friday, August 7, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe Caps Bank Interest Rates At 18 Percent

Source: All Africa

Zimbabwe's central bank on Wednesday capped lending rates for finance institutions at 18% and moved in to reform the banking sector in a bid to improve economic activity and enhance stability.
Thursday, August 6, 2015 — South Asia

OPINION: 10 developments that could transform the future of Indian banking

Source: The Hindu Businessline

With emerging needs in urbanisation, industrialisation, digitisation, education, financial inclusion, and global integration, the following 10 developments will shape the banking industry in India’s journey towards a $20 trillion economy.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

Why banks are betting on the blockchain - not bitcoin - to transform the financial sector

Source: Tech World

Banks are getting increasingly interested in the potential of bitcoin's underlying blockchain technology to reduce the cost of payments and back office costs.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — South Asia

Tencent’s WeBank Finds Sweet Spot in Microloans in China

Source: EJ Insight

Seven months after its launch, Tencent-backed (00700.HK) WeBank is showing off some of its first financial accomplishments that hint at the direction it may take as it carves out a place in China’s banking sector.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — South Asia

Islamic banking consistently expanding in Pakistan

Source: Daily Times

Last week, the State Bank of Pakistan granted its first license to a micro-finance bank and brought it into the Islamic mode.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — Latin America

Inter-American Development Bank Report Highlights Business Opportunities At Base of the Pyramid in Latin America and Caribbean

Source: Inter-American Development Bank

According to an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report released today, the base of the pyramid is a $759 billion market offering promising business opportunities to the private sector.
Monday, July 27, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The battle between Africa’s mobile phone companies and banks is a boon for financial inclusion

Source: Quartz

Now banks are not only trying to compete in this space but also offer new products that promise access to banking services to those who up until this point were excluded.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — South Asia

Bangladesh Backs Mobile Phones to Move Cash Among Rural Poor

Source: Bloomberg

Bangladesh, home to the world’s second-largest mobile money company, is moving to consolidate the industry as it expands financial services to the rural poor.
Friday, July 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

FinTech Investments Quadruple: Top Trends to Watch

Source: Forbes

Investments into FinTech startups recently quadrupled, growing from just over $3 billion in 2013 to over $12 billion in 2014. And consider alongside that another trend showing that crowdfunding will surpass VC in 2016 as a funding source–given that crowdfunding itself is a segment of the FinTech market.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Will BRICS Bank Challenge the Bretton Woods System?

Source: IPS News

The formal opening of the BRICS Bank in Shanghai on Jul. 21, following the seventh summit of the world’s five leading emerging economies, demonstrates the speed with which an alternative global financial architecture is emerging.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

Who’s the Next Impact Target After Goldman Sachs Snaps Up Imprint Capital?

Source: Impact Alpha

Goldman Sachs’ move to buy San Francisco-based Imprint Capital has the small community of impact investment asset managers and dealmakers buzzing about who might next be asked to dance by a Wall Street suitor.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

Global Funds Make a Beeline for Indian Banks, Finance Firms; $1.46 Billion Investment Made in 6 Months

Source: The Economic Times

Finance and banking firms, big and small, are raising large sums of money from foreign investors jousting for a slice of action in the world's fastest-growing major economy.
Monday, June 29, 2015 — Latin America

A Light in the Darkness

Source: The Economist

Some mountainous parts of Mexico are so remote that the electricity grid fails to reach them, let alone the banking system. A five-year-old social enterprise, Iluméxico, hopes to change that. It provides more than 20,000 people with loans to buy low-cost solar panels and batteries, enabling them to switch lights on, watch television and charge mobile phones, sometimes for the first time.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda: Banks Partner with Telecoms to Cope With Mobile Pressure

Source: All Africa

Ugandan banks seem to have realized the threat from mobile services, as more of them are partnering with telecoms to swiftly roll out mobile banking products.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 — South Asia

India Poised For Mobile-Payments Revolution As Internet Giants Alibaba, Amazon Move In

Source: International Business Times

A host of new players – from Amazon to Alibaba-backed One97 – are introducing a range of mobile-payments systems that could provide the backbone for an e-commerce boom.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda Legalizes Islamic Banking

Source: All Africa

Uganda's Cabinet has approved the amended Financial Institutions Act 2015, which paves the way for the introduction of Islamic and Agency banking in Uganda.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 — South Asia

Mobile Banking Provides Lifeline for Bangladeshis

Source: Wall Street Journal

Phone-based services revolutionize the way people save and send money.
Thursday, June 18, 2015 — South Asia

Bandhan Bank Is Born: Chandra Shekhar Ghosh's Incredible Journey From a Sweet Shop to Owning a Bank

Source: Firstpost

In most Indian languages, the word Bandhan means bond or togetherness. His bond with the credit-deprived poor in Eastern India’s villages and a Rs 2 lakh loan were the initial capital for Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, the son of a small sweet-shop owner from Bengal, to begin a microfinance institution, Bandhan Financial Services Ltd, and grow it to a private bank in less than 15 years.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 — South Asia

ADB to Increase Lending to Support India’s New Initiatives

Source: Asian Development Bank

Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao today met with India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to discuss ADB’s partnership with India. Mr Nakao also met with Minister of Urban Development, M. Venkaiah Naidu and discussed ADB’s support to the government’s new urban initiatives. He stressed that ADB is committed to strengthening its support to India’s new initiatives that target increased economic growth and reduced poverty.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 — South Asia

Empty accounts continue to plague India's financial inclusion plan

Source: Business Today

More than half of a record 160 million accounts opened in India as part of a drive to offer banking to all are still empty, illustrating the massive task ahead for one of the government's most high-profile campaigns and the strain on banks.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Indonesian start-ups helping to broaden financial inclusion

Source: Spy Ghana

A string of innovative financial products from Indonesian start-ups are circumventing the traditional payment and investment system, helping to broaden financial inclusion and challenging the established banks.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Scholarships for savings: Nigerian bank uses incentives to advance financial inclusion among students

Source: The Guardian Nigeria

First Bank Plc has put in place a set of incentives, including scholarships, that would encourage young Nigerians, particularly students, to voluntarily embrace savings culture and by extension, help drive financial inclusion.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Sending money out of South Africa set to become easier and cheaper

Source: Mail and Guardian Africa

An exemption to a financial intelligence law will reduce the cost and lessen the bureaucracy involved in transferring cash across the border.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's largest bank signs up 1.8 million mobile banking customers since March

Source: Reuters

Kenya's biggest bank by assets, KCB, has signed up 1.8 million customers for its mobile phone-based service since it was launched in March and is on target for 10 million users within a year from now, its chief financial officer said.
Monday, June 8, 2015 — South Asia

Postal bank coming soon to India, say officials

Source: Business World

India’s massive postal network is likely to turn into payment banks by late next month, reaching out to the unbanked section of the society under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Jan Dhan programme.
Monday, June 8, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

East Africa: Online Banking Still a Challenge to Many Kenyans - Study

Source: All Africa

Online banking remains a challenge to many people even as the smart phone penetration in Kenya experiences substantial growth, according to a new survey.
Friday, June 5, 2015 — South Asia

OPINION: Fixing financial inclusion in India

Source: Financial Express

A Self Help Group-bank linkage programme should be included in the financial inclusion strategy of the government.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: Bangladesh Government joins the Better Than Cash Alliance

Source: PR Newswire

Aligned with the nation's Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021, the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh today announced it will accelerate its transition from cash to digital payments, marked by a new partnership with the Better Than Cash Alliance.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Can China’s Financial System Become More Inclusive?

Source: The Diplomat

Beijing is trying to make finance accessible to those traditionally denied it, with mixed results.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: Finance Minister launches National Financial Inclusion Strategy for Pakistan

Source: State Bank of Pakistan

The Federal Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, launched National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) for Pakistan at Islamabad.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

REPORT: By 2020, biometrics will be predominant method bank customers will use to identify themselves

Source: Goode Intelligence

Goode Intelligence today issued a new Analyst Report forecasting that by 2020, bank customers will use biometrics as the predominant method of identifying themselves to access bank services.
Monday, June 1, 2015 — Latin America

Ecuadorian Banks Must Adopt Official Electronic Currency - or Else

Source: Pan Am Post

While companies worldwide are embracing the rise of decentralized cryptocurrency bitcoin, Ecuadorian officials have chosen to make local banks adopt a home-grown state digital currency — whether they like it or not.
Monday, June 1, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's Equity Bank gets court backing to roll out thin SIM technology

Source: Business Daily Africa

After a year-long court battle, Equity Bank can finally go ahead and roll out its thin Sim technology in Kenya.
Friday, May 29, 2015 — Latin America

Latin America development bank CAF eyes presence in Cuba

Source: Reuters

The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) aims to be the first multilateral lender present in Cuba, its executive president said on Thursday, as the communist-run island seeks foreign investment amid a diplomatic opening to the United States.
Friday, May 29, 2015 — South Asia

With over six million mobile accounts, Easypaisa becomes third largest bank in Pakistan

Source: Business Recorder

Easypaisa, a leading branchless banking service, claimed to have become the country's third largest bank in terms of accounts.
Thursday, May 28, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Indonesia Turns to Technology to Build its Banking Sector

Source: Wall Street Journal

Indonesia is hoping to get more of its 250 million citizens using formal financial services, and it’s looking to some of the creative tech startups that are already one step ahead for some assistance.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: In India, MobiKwik partners with ICICI Bank to let customers add cash to their mobile wallet at branches

Source: TechStory

ICICI Bank will collect cash payments from MobiKwik customers across more than 4000 branches in the country.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Why turning the Postal Service into a bank isn’t nearly as ridiculous as it sounds

Source: Salon

This remains a tremendous idea to relieve economic inequality and preserve an important public-sector ladder into the middle class; and continued agitation just might get it done.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa Plans to Corporatise Post Bank

Source: CPI Financial

South Africa’s Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele says the process to corporatise Post Bank is at an advanced state.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 — South Asia

India sees more cashless transactions through internet, ATM as consumers favor virtual payment

Source: Economic Times

Paperless transactions through the internet, ATM, cards and mobile devices have surpassed paper-based ones in the year leading to March 15, reiterating the fact that Indians are moving towards virtual payment.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's Jamii Bora Bank sheds microfinance tag

Source: Standard Digital

Jamii Bora Bank has announced that it is now targeting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in a major change of strategy that has seen it shed the microfinance tag.
Friday, May 22, 2015 — South Asia

Amazon and the Bank of India Are Helping Small Businesses

Source: PaymentEye

The State Bank of India (SBI) and Amazon.in have agreed to work together and focus efforts on improving payments and e-commerce solutions for small businesses across the country.
Thursday, May 21, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria's GTBank Introduces New "Short Code" Channel for Mobile Money Transfers

Source: This Day Live

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) said it is applying a breakthrough innovation to enable funds transfer on the mobile phone for the first time in Nigeria for the bank’s customers.
Thursday, May 21, 2015 — South Asia

India's Jan Dhan financial inclusion drive hits customer service barrier

Source: The Hindu Businessline

Creating new accounts is not enough. Banks’ behaviour towards low income clients is a major roadblock
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 — Asia Pacific

World Bank Group President Pledges Up to $11 Billion in Support to Indonesia

Source: The World Bank

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim pledged up to $11 billion in new financing in the next three to four years to Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

More businesses in Kenya adopt cashless payments

Source: Spy Ghana

More businesses in Kenya are embracing cashless payments as security of the system is enhanced and Kenyans see the benefits of using it.
Monday, May 18, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Money Keeps Moving Toward Somalia, Sometimes In Suitcases

Source: Foreign Policy

Some financial companies in the U.S. resort to carrying cash on airplanes to keep remittances flowing to needy Somalis.
Friday, May 15, 2015 — South Asia

India's Axis Bank Taps WhatsApp for P2P Mobile Payments

Source: Finextra

India's Axis Bank has launched a mobile payments service that lets users send money to each other through WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, email and phone contact lists.
Thursday, May 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

African Development Bank Invests $50 Million in Indigenous Power Developer CEC Africa

Source: CPI Financial

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved on 29 April 2015 a $50 million investment in CEC Africa Investments Limited, a multinational power company headquartered in Nigeria and Zambia.
Thursday, May 14, 2015 — South Asia

India's Bad Loans Situation May Not Have Peaked Yet, Says RBI Chief

Source: Yahoo!

India's banking system may not yet have seen the peak in bad loans, the Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said on Thursday, adding the central bank was working with lenders to recognise and resolve these non-performing assets.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: Contributory Social Security Schemes Launched Last Week in India Could Be Game Changers

Source: The Indian Express

The prime minister launched three welfare-enhancing pension and insurance schemes on May 9. In a country where less than 10 per cent of the population has insurance cover and almost nobody in the unorganised sector has a pension plan, these three schemes are expected to play a significant role in providing social security for the poor.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria: Cement Firm Partners With Microfinance Bank to Build 5,000 New Homes

Source: allAfrica

A NEW deal has been sealed between a cement firm, Messrs United Cement Company of Nigeria (UNICEM) and microfinance bank for the building of 5,000 new housing units in the country.
Monday, May 11, 2015 — South Asia

Xiaomi’s Money Market Fund Rolls Out of Beta, to Take on Alibaba and Tencent

Source: Tech in Asia

Like Baidu and Alibaba, Xiaomi is eyeing China’s finance industry and seeing dollar signs. Today the company is officially launching a money-market fund called Huoqibao inside a new standalone app called “Xiaomi Finance.”
Monday, May 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion in Africa: “Things Are Further Behind Than People Think”

Source: Ventures Africa

Plenty of progress has been made on increasing the size of Africa’s banked population. The trouble is, from the amount of noise that is made about the topic, you would be forgiven for thinking we had fixed the problem when we really haven’t.
Monday, May 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Six Nigerian Banks Unveils New m-Payment System

Source: CPAfrica

Mobile payment system just got more convenient in Nigeria as a consortium of six banks have inaugurated the Unified Payments’ electronic money transaction scheme known as PayAttitude.
Monday, May 11, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: India’s Financial Inclusion Schemes Are Fine, but Why Is the Government Not Addressing Banks' Quality, Cost Concerns?

Source: Firstpost

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team at the NDA government deserve their due share of credit for initiating efforts to bring a large segment of India’s population to insurance, pension cover at cheaper cost, even as the Congress is crying foul of repacking old UPA ideas.
Thursday, May 7, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Visa Pushes for Financial Inclusion in Philippines

Source: Rappler

There is an opportunity for financial inclusion in the Philippines, and VISA is banking on such potential.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Greta Bull Appointed New CEO of CGAP and World Bank Group Director

Source: CGAP

The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), today announced the appointment of Greta Bull as its new CEO. As CGAP’s CEO, Ms. Bull is also a Director at the World Bank Group.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 — South Asia

In India, More Than 50% of Jan Dhan Yojana Bank Accounts Remain Empty

Source: Livemint

Nearly nine months after the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was launched, more than half the accounts do not have any balance.
Monday, May 4, 2015 — No Region Specified

Wall Street's Thinking About Creating Derivatives on Peer-to-Peer Loans

Source: Bloomberg

Monday, May 4, 2015 — South Asia

Shadow Financing Indirectly Flowing Into China Stock Market

Source: South China Morning Post

Mix the mainland's red-hot stock market with its opaque shadow lending industry and the result could be a new level of risk in the mainland financial sector.
Monday, May 4, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: India’s MFI Rules Need More Thought, or Else They Can Go Wrong

Source: Livemint

The microfinance industry has witnessed many changes since the 2010 crisis. Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) eased some lending norms for microfinance institutions (MFIs), which will mean enhanced access to credit for customers. Also, the government has proposed that the Mudra Bank (Micro Units Development Refinance Agency Bank) will regulate MFIs. Alok Prasad, chief executive officer, Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN), a self-regulatory organization for non-banking finance company (NBFC) MFIs, talks about regulatory challenges in the industry and how the future of microfinance may evolve. Edited excerpts:
Friday, May 1, 2015 — South Asia

OPINION: Financial Inclusion in India – Easier Said Than Done

Source: Hindu Business Line

Given the numerous players and rapid churn in financial inclusion technologies, regulators face a challenge
Thursday, April 30, 2015 — No Region Specified

Impact investing takes the bite out of auto loan sharks in the U.S.

Source: Dallas News

Michelle Corson, founder of On the Road Lending, pools investors’ money to finance cars for low-income people at decent rates.
Thursday, April 30, 2015 — South Asia

Without broadband, financial inclusion in India will remain a ‘pipe dream,’ says telecom regulator chairman

Source: Indian Express

Advocating deeper broadband penetration to ensure success of Jan Dhan scheme, telecom regulator TRAI’s chief Rahul Khullar today said financial inclusion will otherwise remain a “pipe dream” and merely opening bank accounts will not serve the purpose.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 — South Asia

Financial Inclusion: How Banking Is Coming to India’s Countryside

Source: The Wall Street Journal

One of the ways that Indian Prime Minister Modi is trying to get more Indians into the financial system is by delivering state support straight into bank accounts of those who need it rather than via costly price subsidies.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: The World Bank: Why It Is Still Needed and Why It Still Disappoints

Source: The World Bank

The decade or two after WW2 saw many of the world’s poorest countries gain their independence from Colonial rule, and they were hoping to rapidly become less poor. Economics taught policy makers in those countries that a higher investment rate is crucial to assuring faster economic growth. Being a poor country makes it harder to finance the required investments from domestic savings. Yet rich countries should have ample savings available that might be profitably diverted to this task. In an ideal world, global capital markets could be expected to bridge the gap. But 70 years ago those markets were thin and/or not trusted as a source of finance.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — South Asia

A Former New York Investment Banker Takes on Financial Inclusion in India

Source: Forbes

When she left New York five years ago, a former Wall Street investment banker had a plan for a new business in India. Today, that plan has become a growing company tackling financial inclusion in a way few have considered to date, in India’s evolving, highly unique, growth environment.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — South Asia

India accounts for about a fifth of the global population without bank accounts

Source: The Hindu

Recent statistics released by the World Bank highlight not only the strides made by India on the financial inclusion front, but also the challenges ahead.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Somalia's Premier Bank to bring ATMs, debit cards to Mogadishu

Source: Reuters

Somalia's Premier Bank has struck a deal with Mastercard and will issue debit cards and install ATM machines in the capital of the war-ravaged country, the Islamic lender's top executive said on Wednesday.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

'Mobile money is not the only option in Sub Saharan Africa'

Source: IT Web Africa

Mobile money platforms may have taken root in Sub Saharan Africa but they are not the only innovation disrupting the financial services sector in the region, with new technology-based finance platforms also seeing rising uptake, experts say.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Indonesia calls for new global financial order

Source: Reuters

Indonesian President Joko Widodo called on Wednesday for a new global financial order that is open to emerging economic powers and leaves the "obsolete ideas" of Bretton Woods institutions in the past.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — South Asia

India’s ICICI Bank Launches ‘Tap n Pay’ NFC Based Contactless Payments

Source: Trak.in

ICICI Bank today announced launch of new innovative NFC (Near Field Communication) based contactless payment system in partnership with Tech Mahindra. Called “Tap n Pay”, it allows users to make over-the-counter payments without using any cash or card. The users have to just tap the NFC enabled tag or mobile phone at the merchant’s point-of-sale device to make payments.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — No Region Specified

How the World Bank Should Help the Planet's Poorest: Pay Them

Source: Bloomberg

Last weekend the World Bank issued a report on the dramatic rise in global access to financial services. From 2011 to 2014 alone, 700 million people worldwide opened a bank account or joined a mobile money service.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 — South Asia

Why Is Apple Inc.'s Mobile Payment System Struggling in the World's Largest Smartphone Market?

Source: The Motley Fool

China is a great market for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) . In fiscal Q1 2015, the company reported $16.1 billion in revenue from the greater China region (which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan), up 70% year over year.
Monday, April 20, 2015 — South Asia

Report: India's Microfinance Sector Poised to Grow Robustly in Next Five Years

Source: VCCircle

The microfinance sector, which is seen as a vehicle of financial inclusion, has seen a boom over the past year as government has laid more emphasis on financial inclusion. The sector is expected to grow robustly in the next few years as large players consolidate their position in their market.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — South Asia

China Is Fertile Ground for Growing Internet Finance

Source: Caixin Online

The recent establishment of private Internet banks has ushered the banking industry into an era where banks need no brick-and-mortar offices. Technologies like big data make this possible, yet there is disagreement over how much potential Internet finance has.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

The IRS’s Secret, Successful Low-Income Savings Program

Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review

While April 15th is generally referred to as “tax day,” that’s true for less than 20 percent of filers. For most working households tax day falls in February or early March. It’s the day when they receive their refunds, not when they file.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Massive Drop in Number of Unbanked, Says New Report

Source: The World Bank

From 2011 and 2014, 700 million people became account holders at banks, other financial institutions, or mobile money service providers, and the number of “unbanked” individuals dropped 20 percent to 2 billion adults, says a new report released today.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why Ethiopian Financial Services Industry Is Slow on Mobile Banking

Source: AFKInsider

Ethiopia’s heavily regulated financial service sector is one of the least developed on sub-Saharan Africa with over 80 million people from a population of 94 million still unbanked, despite the rapid economic growth the horn of Africa nation has experienced over the last decade.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — North Africa and Near East

Islamic Financial Services Board Adds Financial Inclusion to Islamic Banking's To-Do List

Source: Reuters

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) is adding financial inclusion to the industry's to-do list, launching initiatives aimed at widening the reach of sharia-compliant banking to include poorer people.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

National Commission to Issue Electronic Identity Cards to Six Million Nigerian MFI Members to Boost Financial Inclusion

Source: Leadership

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is collaborating with the Association of Non-bank Micro Finance Institutions of Nigeria (ANMFIN) to register its six million members into the national identity management system and issue them electronic identity card for effective financial inclusion.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — South Asia

China's Financial Repression and Alibaba's Banking Arbitrage

Source: Forbes

There’s much stock market excitement about the various Chinese internet companies, Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi, and their move into what is essentially online banking. Will they be able to capute significant percentages of the market, just how dang big is that market anyway and which of them is going to do best? We, here at this particular part of Forbes, don’t do technology nor stock markets, but macroeconomics. And truth of the matter here is that all of those things are going to depend upon the Chinese Goivernment’s macroeconomic policy making. Specifically, how much are they going to relax the country’s current financial repression and how much are they going to allow these companies to arbitrage around it? Absolutely nothing else is going to have an effect as large as that one single decision.
Monday, April 13, 2015 — South Asia

Coming of Age: Institutional Investors See Investment Merit in India’s Non-Banking Finance Companies and MFIs

Source: Business Line

Institutional investors in the debt market are gradually gaining confidence about looking beyond traditional government and highly-rated corporate debt to bonds and other debt instruments issued by non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs). NBFCs and MFIs are also helping create this new market, either by issuing debentures or pooling their debt assets.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya Commercial Bank Launches Islamic Banking

Source: Spy Ghana News

Kenya Commercials Bank (KCB) Group on Thursday launched its Islamic Banking unit as it seeks to tap into the growing demand for Islamic financial products across the East African region.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: Mudra Bank Is Just What India’s Microfinance Sector Needed

Source: Business Line

Mudra Bank can provide some cohesion and impetus to this fragmented space, besides the right kind of regulation.
Friday, April 10, 2015 — South Asia

Eight Months on, Two Charts Raise Questions About India’s Financial Inclusion Scheme

Source: Scroll.in

Two of every three bank accounts opened under Jan Dhan Yojana have zero balance. Not a single insurance claim was settled during the last year.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Banco Santander Announces Commitment to Launch Social Economy Initiative With Georgetown University

Source: Market Watch

Banco Santander, through Santander Universities, signed today a Memorandum of Understanding with Georgetown University, to support a new initiative on the social economy. The initiative will focus on issues of social banking, social finance, and social entrepreneurship. This Memorandum was signed by Ana Botin, Executive Chairman of Banco Santander and John DeGioia, President of Georgetown University.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — South Asia

India’s Push for Banks for All Leaves Some Still Outside

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Firozaben, a nurse at an upscale clinic here, opened an account at the state-owned Bank of Baroda Ltd. in December, attracted by the promise of an overdraft provision and accident- and life-insurance policies—all for no fee, courtesy of a government program to bring India’s masses into the banking system.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Study: Only 2.8 Percent of Nigerian Adults Have Microfinance Accounts

Source: National Mirror

Despite the huge numbers of Microfinance Banks, MFBs, operating in the country and regulatory authorities’ efforts to use them as channels for financial inclusion, investigations have confirmed that only 2.6 million of the adult population had MFB accounts.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya Shuts Down Somali Remittance Firms, Freezes Accounts

Source: Reuters

Kenya has suspended the licences of 13 Somali remittance firms following the massacre at a Kenyan university last week, Somalia's central bank governor said on Wednesday, and Kenyan media reported that dozens of bank accounts had been frozen.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda: Central Bank to Investigate MTN

Source: Mobile Money Africa

Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials are planning a major investigation into MTN Mobile Money dealings following an expose by The Independent.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — South Asia

Prime Minister Modi Launches MUDRA Bank, Expected to Benefit 5.77 crore Microfinance Institutions in India

Source: IBNLive

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched MUDRA Bank under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. This will provide credit of up to Rs 10 lakh to small entrepreneurs and act as a regulator for 'Micro-Finance Institutions' (MFIs).
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 — South Asia

Financial Planning Lessons From Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Source: Livemint

That Narendra Modi is a skilful orator is not news, but to hear him in person and to see him use ground-level common sense to drive home financial lessons to an auditorium full of bankers is quite an experience. The venue was the 80th birthday party of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai. And in case you were wondering, as I did, as to why celebrate 80 years rather than the global norm of 75 or 100, Modi said that 80 years is special to Indians because it marks the sahastra darshan or the 1,000 viewings of the full moon by a person who turns 80.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — South Asia

How to Stop Worrying and Love the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Source: The Washington Post

China launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in October of 2014 and has met with nothing but opposition from the United States. Officially, the objection cited by the United States is a lack of clarity about AIIB’s governance, as well as concerns about whether the AIIB will adhere to strict environmental and labor standards in its operations. It is clear, however, that U.S. opposition also derives from fears that the AIIB — spearheaded by China and part of China’s “New Silk Road” strategy — will diminish U.S. leadership in the region.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — No Region Specified

World Bank President Outlines Strategy to End Poverty, Welcomes New Development Partners

Source: The World Bank

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim today announced a broad strategy to end extreme poverty by 2030, and he welcomed emerging players such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank, established by the BRICS countries, as potentially strong allies in the economic development of poor countries and emerging markets.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India to Hike Limits for Priority Sector Lending, Allow Inter-Bank Bond Investments

Source: VCCircle

Indian banking regulator has proposed to hike the eligibility criteria to classify a loan as priority sector lending (PSL) which is expected to particularly boost microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the country.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Equity Bank MVNO Moves in on Kenya's Mobile Money Market

Source: ITWeb Africa

Mobile virtual number operator Finserve Africa Limited (trading as Equitel) has made its mark in the Kenyan mobile money market, overtaking veterans such as Orange Money during October and December of last year.
Monday, April 6, 2015 — No Region Specified

Could Your Facebook Profile Get You a Mortgage?

Source: Co.Exist

In the developing world, using people's social graph to determine creditworthiness is opening up billions of new people to the benefits of credit—and a chance at the middle class.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — South Asia

Report: Over 700 Million in Asia Already Bank Digitally

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

According to a new report from McKinsey & Company, smartphones and high speed Internet access are transforming banking habits in Asia where over 700 million people already regularly conduct transactions online.
Friday, April 3, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Prime Minister Modi Asks Reserve Bank to Prepare 20-Year Financial Inclusion Roadmap

Source: Business Line

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the Reserve Bank of India to prepare a 20-year roadmap for deepening financial inclusion in the country.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — South Asia

The US Is Warming Up to China's Big New Development Bank

Source: Business Insider

Washington appears to have softened its stance towards the new Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, backing down from its earlier resistance and saying it is now ready to welcome the institution.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — South Asia

Wheel of Fortune

Source: Bangalore Mirror

The entrepreneur hopes to empower the differently-abled by manufacturing vehicles that offer mobility, quality at a reduced cost and even aid in employment.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: Why We Should Be Worried By the World Bank Shoveling $36 Billion to ‘Financial Intermediaries’

Source: Oxfam International

Everyone’s heard of the World Bank, but far fewer people know of its private sector arm, the International.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — No Region Specified

Interview: Transforming Banking for the Poor: A Q&A With Jonathan Morduch

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Microfinance was once heralded as a key weapon in the fight against global poverty. Yet some 2.5 billion impoverished people across the world still don’t have access to basic financial services, according to the latest World Bank data.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — No Region Specified

One-in-Three U.S. Adults Has No Emergency Savings Despite Improving Economy, Says New Survey

Source: Market Wired

An improving economy has done little to help people prepare for a financial emergency, with 34 percent of adults in America -- more than 72 million people -- saying that they don't have any emergency savings, according to the second annual financial capability survey from NeighborWorks America. That is up from 29 percent of adults reporting no emergency savings in the similar survey one year ago.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — South Asia

New Chinese Bank Becomes Major Headache for U.S.

Source: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Another day, it seems, brings another new member to China's latest big international initiative: a new development bank for Asia.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Payments Company Oxigen Eyeing Up to $200 Million Expansion Drive

Source: Live Mint

Payment solutions provider Oxigen is on a major expansion drive that includes hiring about 1,500 people and ramping up its payment network across semi-urban and rural India. The firm is also eyeing a large share of the remittances market and prepares the ground for launching a payments bank.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — South Asia

Indian Microfinance Institutions Want RBI, Not Mudra Bank, as Regulator

Source: The Economic Times

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are worried about the government's decision to set up the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency, or Mudra Bank, to regulate them as there could be a conflict of interest. They want the Reserve Bank of India ( RBI) to continue as their regulator.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Four Major Banks Launch Branchless Banking Program in Indonesia

Source: The Jakarta Post

The Financial Services Authority (OJK), along with four of the nation’s largest banks, launched on Thursday a nationwide campaign on financial services without physical branches to help boost access to the banking system in rural areas.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — Latin America

Inter-American Development Bank Creates New Institution for Private Sector Operations

Source: Devex

The Inter-American Development Bank is in the process of forming a new entity to handle its private sector activities, according to a bank employee with knowledge of the plans.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — No Region Specified

Funding for Financial Inclusion Rises to $31 Billion in 2013

Source: Reuters

Global investment in affordable financial services for the poor has risen by an average seven percent per year since 2011, a World Bank think tank said in a survey released on Wednesday.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — South Asia

India’s Illicit Moneylenders Aren’t Going Away

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Three bank branches stand across the street from Ajay Kumar Jaswal’s vegetable stand. But their loan officers shun his small business, forcing him to pay up to 20% quarterly interest to an illegal moneylender for the roughly $160 he needs as working capital.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 — South Asia

You Need a Banking Law to Create a Bank for the Poor

Source: Business Today

Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and a proponent of 'social business', a not-for-profit business model to combat unemployment and other social evils, does not mince his words when it comes to micro-credit for the poor. The Nobel Peace Prize winner is dismissive about some recent innovations in the microfinance sector and warns about the direction they are taking. He also believes that micro-credit should be kept outside political influence to run it as a sound financial institution. "The best scenario," he says, "is when a micro-credit bank is owned by the poor." Excerpts from an interview with Shamni Pande:
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: China’s World Bank Has Rickety Foundations

Source: Reuters

If any country knows about the risks and rewards of building infrastructure, it is China. Over the past two decades, the People’s Republic has erected countless roads, dams, power plants, bridges and airports in its pursuit of economic development. The result has been a surge in debt, waste, corruption and pollution. It’s a dubious foundation from which to construct the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: To Reach India’s Rural Poor, Why Not Try Television Banking?

Source: Business Line

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was envisioned to provide universal financial inclusion to rural and urban households. The mission includes not only providing universal banking access to all households but also micro-insurance. The government and commercial banks have accomplished the remarkable feat of opening 12.8 crore accounts within the last six months. While this is a laudable achievement, a number of issues related to servicing these accounts, mostly in remote and far-flung areas, may need to be addressed.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Table-Banking Bridges the Financial Inclusion Gap in Kenya

Source: Standard Digital News

Whichever way you look at it, Kenya and by extension the East African region is undergoing a major transformation as far as financial inclusion goes. In October last year, the Central Bank of Kenya released a report on development regarding the access and consumption of financial services in Kenya. The FinAccess 2013 Survey revealed that Kenya's financial inclusion landscape has undergone considerable transformation.
Monday, March 23, 2015 — No Region Specified

What Brazil and Malaysia Can Teach the U.S. About Financial Inclusion

Source: American Banker

When people think about financial inclusion, their minds tend to go first to highly-publicized unbanked regions in Africa and parts of Asia. But many people right here in the United States lack access to traditional financial services.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Microfinance Companies to Be Hit by Mergers and Acquisitions in Ghana

Source: Ghana Web

Ghana’s microfinance industry is expected to be hit by mergers and acquisitions as the regulator demands recapitalization of companies in the sector.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — No Region Specified

New Youth Agenda At the World Bank? Readers and Development Partners Weigh In

Source: Devex

Can World Bank staff loosen their ties and engage with young people in a meaningful, productive way? Youth champions and development professionals hope that — if approved by senior management — a new team focused on youth will put an emphasis on listening more to young people to incorporate their ideas into the core of the global financial institution’s work.
Friday, March 20, 2015 — South Asia

Pakistan’s Largest Conventional Bank is Expected to Enter the Microfinance Sector

Source: The Express Tribune

Habib Bank (HBL) is expected to enter the microfinance banking segment by acquiring Pakistan’s second largest microfinance bank in terms of the value of savings, according to a regulatory filing by the country’s biggest commercial bank on Thursday.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

New Report Offers Insights into How Young People Save in Developing Countries

Source: Washington University

A new project from the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University in St. Louis shows, among other findings, that girls in developing countries, given equal opportunities, will save as much or more in formal financial institutions than boys.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 — No Region Specified

Viewpoint: America's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Disaster: Are There Lessons to Be Learned?

Source: The Diplomat

The floodgates have opened. After the U.K. announced last Thursday that it would seek to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a trio of other European powers — Germany, France, and Italy — followed suit. With a March 31 deadline looming for countries to gain “founding member” status, expect more states – possibly including Australia and South Korea – to join in as well.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — Asia Pacific

3 European Powers Say They Will Join China-Led Development Bank

Source: New York Times

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — South Asia

INTERVIEW: Muhammad Yunus discusses the Indian microfinance industry

Source: Live Mint

The Nobel laureate and founder of microfinance pioneer Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank says MFIs in India could be greedy and tapping the capital market or raising loans from private equity funds is a bad idea.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Chinese Phone Giant Xiaomi Tests Mobile Wallet That Pays Interest

Source: Re/Code

Chinese phone giant Xiaomi has introduced a new wrinkle on the mobile wallet: A portable account that bears interest.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 — Asia Pacific

Asia Steps Up Efforts to Reach the ‘Unbanked’

Source: Wall Street Journal

Across Asia, governments are experimenting with novel ways to widen access to financial services, from using mobile technology for transfers to allowing retail stores to take deposits in remote areas.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 — South Asia

Financial Inclusion in Focus in India, but Bank Loans to Micro Sector Fall 5.5%

Source: The Economic Times

State-run banks may have created a record with opening of Jan Dhan accounts, but when it comes to lending to the poor, they are actually faltering. Bank loans to the micro sector, the target group of the government's financial inclusion drive and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), have fallen 5.5% over the last 14 months, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Monday, March 16, 2015 — Asia Pacific

State-Owned Bank Negara Indonesia Prepares to Launch Branchless Banking Program

Source: The Jakarta Post

State-owned Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) is preparing to expand its electronic money (e-money) service to increase low-cost funds as well as to offer wider banking access.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — South Asia

India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Launches Digitization Scheme for Women Self-Help Groups

Source: The Economic Times

With an objective to promote financial inclusion, Nabard today started a pilot project for complete digitisation of women self help groups (SHGs) to improve the quality of interface between members and banks for efficient and hassle free delivery of banking services.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Deutsche Bank Closes $50 Million Social Enterprise Fund

Source: Yahoo!

Deutsche Bank’s Global Social Finance Group today announced the closing of the Essential Capital Consortium (ECC), a five-year USD 50 million social enterprise fund, which is part of its family of social impact funds first launched in 2005.
Monday, March 16, 2015 — No Region Specified

Ethical Investments: Lack of Awareness Means Investors Are Supporting Industries They Oppose

Source: The Independent

Liz Berwick is a fairly typical saver. The 35-year-old mother of two hopes to put away around £3,000 this year by saving regularly into a tax-free Isa. The question is, where?
Friday, March 13, 2015 — South Asia

Next Phase of Jan Dhan Yojana to Mobilize Financial Savings

Source: The Economic Times

The finance ministry on Wednesday said the next phase of the government's ambitious financial inclusion scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), will be focused on mobilisation of financial savings to reverse the decline in the savings rate.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Bramer Bank Provides Gateway to Investment in Africa

Source: World Finance

Mauritius is the easiest place to do business in Africa, offering a compelling banking environment for industry pioneers such as Bramer Bank.
Friday, March 13, 2015 — South Asia

Grameen Foundation USA Partners with MetLife Foundation to Provide Microfinance in Uttar Pradesh

Source: Moneycontrol

Grameen Foundation US has partnered with MetLife Foundation to provide savings and other services to at least 40,000 poor and women clients in Uttar Pradesh.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New 'M-Shwari-Like' Service Launched in Kenya

Source: ITWeb Africa

Safaricom has entered into a partnership with a leading bank in Kenya, the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), to launch a mobile banking product similar to M-shwari, named KCB-MPesa Account.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — Latin America

Argentina Challenges HSBC to Condemn 'Financial Piracy' As It Demands $3.5bn From Swiss Accounts

Source: The Telegraph

Argentina has challenged HSBC to publicly denounce alleged tax evasion at the bank's Argentine subsidiary, saying not doing so would be an act of "financial piracy".
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — South Asia

Does India Need Microfinance-Focused Mudra Bank?

Source: Live Mint

Do we need yet another refinance agency in the Indian financial system? Quite a few such agencies already exist; none of them can claim to be a success by any yardstick.
Thursday, March 5, 2015 — No Region Specified

MasterCard CEO says financial inclusion is our generation's big responsibility

Source: Business Insider

MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga discussed financial inclusion at Mobile World Congress.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — South Asia

World Bank to boost India's MSME sector through $500 million loan

Source: The Times of India

The World Bank on Monday approved a $500 million loan for the MSME Growth Innovation and Inclusive Finance Project to improve access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) working in the manufacturing and services sector at an early stage.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

Microcredit oversold as anti-poverty tool, economists say

Source: Reuters

Microcredit is no panacea for lifting millions of people from poverty, leading economists said on Friday in releasing research from seven countries that challenges a key development tool.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Deutsche Bank Marks Milestone for USD $83 Million Microfinance Fund

Source: Insurance News

The Fund reached 5.5 million low-income and rural borrowers in 15 countries
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Central Bank of Nigeria to Establish Regulatory Council for Islamic Finance

Source: CPI Financial

The CBN said, “An essential governance structure and element of regulatory oversight for institutions offering non-interest (Islamic) financial services is the establishment of an advisory body at the level of the Central Bank to provide assurance that the strategic direction and conduct of financial transactions of Non-Interest (Islamic) Financial Institutions (NIFIs) are in compliance with the rules and principles underpinning their operations.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria’s Next Challenge: Bank Us Please

Source: Ventures Africa

Like any other country, Nigeria has its problems. However, Nigeria perched now as Africa’s “Golden Child” with a GDP of $510 billion, ballooning past South Africa who has numerous economic challenges ahead.
Monday, February 23, 2015 — South Asia

A Chance to Fly

Source: The Economist

Emerging markets used to be a beacon of hope in the world economy, but now they are more often a source of gloom. China’s economy is slowing. Brazil is mired in stagflation. Russia is in recession, battered by Western sanctions and the slump in the oil price; South Africa is plagued by inefficiency and corruption. Amid the disappointment one big emerging market stands out: India.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — Europe & Eurasia

Swiss Prosecutor Raids HSBC Office, Opens Criminal Inquiry

Source: Reuters

Geneva's public prosecutor searched HSBC's (HSBA.L) lakeside Swiss office on Wednesday after opening a criminal inquiry into allegations of aggravated money laundering, the second probe to hit the bank this week.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

Remittances to Developing Nations to Hit $500 Billion in 2015 - U.N. Official

Source: Reuters

An estimated 230 million migrants will send $500 billion in remittances to developing countries in 2015, a flow of capital expected to do more to reduce poverty than all development aid combined, a senior official of the U.N. agricultural bank said.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 — No Region Specified

Half the World's Banks Could Disappear, and Most of the Branches

Source: Which 50

Banks have three to five years to get their digital act together before they enter a spiral of decline, according to a paper by McKinsey & Company. This view was echoed by BBVA chairman and CEO Francisco Gonzalez, who told media and analysts at the announcement of BBVA’s latest results that up to half the world’s banks could slip through the cracks as digital transformation takes hold.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Report: Using Malware, Hackers Steal Millions From Banks

Source: NPR

Putting in place a sophisticated digital racket, hackers were able to steal millions of dollars from up to 100 banks in what the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab is calling "the most successful criminal cyber campaign we have ever seen."
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Moven Founder Brett King Appointed to Center for Financial Services Innovation Board of Directors

Source: Market Wired

Moven, the first app and debit card to provide real-time behavioral feedback to help users change their spending habits and save more, announced today the appointment of Founder and CEO Brett King to the Board of Directors of the prestigious Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI).
Monday, February 16, 2015 — Latin America

Mexican Banks Using Mobile Payments Technology to Enable Digital Transactions at Mom-and-Pop Stores

Source: Mobile Payments Today

In a bid to increase card payments and financial inclusion, Mexican banks are collaborating with mobile payments technology vendors to deploy mPOS solutions at mom-and-pop stores. The Mexican government encourages these initiatives, as around 70 percent of all purchases in Mexico are made with cash and the informal economy represents 30 percent of GDP.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — South Asia

Grameen Bank Goes Under Full State Control Today

Source: Dhaka Tribune

With the tenure of the nine elected female board members having expired today, Nobel winning micro-credit organisation Grameen Bank will now be run by government-appointed board members.
Friday, February 13, 2015 — No Region Specified

This App Wants You to Borrow Money From Friends, Not Banks

Source: Wired

Long ago, your parents probably gave you some advice: never borrow money from a friend. More importantly: never let your friends borrow from you. If the movies have taught us anything, it’s that mixing money and friendship rarely ends in anything other than blood and tears.
Friday, February 13, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

'Swiss Leaks' Catastrophic for African Economies

Source: EurActiv

Developing countries in Africa have been hit by the full force of the recent Swiss Leaks scandal. The Swiss branch of HSBC bank cost Tanzania, Senegal and the Ivory Coast over 30% of their national health budgets. EurActiv France reports.
Thursday, February 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Unable to Get Credit, African Entrepreneurs Turn to Crowdfunding

Source: Voice of America

Crowdfunding is a way to raise money from a large number of people via the Internet to fund a project. The concept is well established in the West, but is still new in Africa. A World Bank project in Kenya has launched a mentorship program to help business owners take advantage of crowdfunding, which some say could help replace the kind of aid they currently receive from NGOs.
Thursday, February 12, 2015 — South Asia

For MFIs in India, Transition to Small Banks Could Be Arduous

Source: Business Line

The Reserve Bank of India’s decision to create small finance banks could be a game-changer for microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the country.
Thursday, February 12, 2015 — South Asia

Viewpoint: Smaller Banks Better Suited for India’s Financial Inclusion Drive; Modi Should Have Waited

Source: Firstpost

There are too many takers for licences for small-sized banks. A total of 113 companies knocked the doors of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with applications when the deadline expired at the close of business hours on 3 February. The list (see here) includes both the biggies and tiny names.
Thursday, February 12, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Upwardly Mobile: The Power of a United Approach to African Payment Innovation

Source: Memeburn

The growing use of banking services in South Africa is driven by a national rollout of social security debit cards and strong economic growth across finance, real estate and business services sectors. According to the Banking Association of South Africa, just under a quarter of the adult population (23.5%) remains unbanked.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

World Bank Boosts Financial Inclusion in Cameroon

Source: Ventures Africa

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has recently announced an advisory services agreement with Mircrofinance Institute Advans Cameroun geared at expediting the rate of financial inclusion in Cameroon by expanding the range and reach of services available to underserved urban and rural populations.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigerian Banks Intensify Efforts on Customer Biometric Registration

Source: The Sun News

In an effort to reduce incidents of fraud and protect customer accounts from unauthorised access, the Bankers’ Committee has intensified efforts on the enrolment of bank customers on the Bank Verification Number (BVN). BVN involves the registration of customers in the financial system using biometric technology making accounts more secure using unique identifiers such as fingerprint.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 — No Region Specified

Western Union to Cut Prices for Money Transfers Within U.S.

Source: Reuters

Western Union Co (WU.N) said it would cut prices for money transfers within the United States to help fend off fierce competition and would buy back up to $1.2 billion of shares.
Friday, February 6, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

iHub Partners with Chase Bank for Innovation in Kenya’s Financial Services

Source: Disrupt Africa

Kenyan incubator the iHub has partnered Chase Bank in an arrangement that will see the two organisations collaborate on advancing the country’s tech ecosystem and offering more innovative services to the bank’s customers and the general public.
Thursday, February 5, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ethiopia Launches Mobile Money Schemes to Extend Banking Reach

Source: Daily Mail

Ethiopian banks and microfinance firms are launching mobile money services, helping reach swathes of the population that now have little access to branches or services, the mobile technology providers and banks said.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

African Development Bank promises Kenya $500 million loan for infrastructure projects

Source: Standard Digital

African Development Bank (AfDB) will loan Kenya Sh45 billion ($500m) this year to finance major infrastructure projects in the country.
Friday, January 30, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why More Nigerian Microfinance Banks May Collapse

Source: The News Nigeria

The Managing Director of Asha Microfinance Bank, in Nigeria’s western city of Lagos, Mr Aminul Bhuiya, on Thursday raised fears about the possible collapse of more microfinance banks in the country saying this was due to high cost of operation.
Monday, January 26, 2015 — South Asia

Barack Obama Commends India’s Financial Inclusion Drive, Calls for Greater Voice for the Country in IMF

Source: Zee News

US President Barack Obama Sunday affirmed his commitment to enhancing India's 'voice and vote' in global financial institutions like IMF.
Monday, January 26, 2015 — South Asia

India Turns to Corner Shops, Mobile Phones for Banking Revolution

Source: Reuters

India is betting that mobile phone vendors, fuel stations and corner stores can help it put basic banking within the grasp of hundreds of millions of its poor people living beyond the reach of traditional bank branches.
Friday, January 23, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Card Payments Drop as Mobile Money Use Grows in Kenya

Source: AFKInsider

Payments made using plastic cards dipped by a fifth in 11 months to November last year as mobile phone-based payments ate into commercial banks’ business.
Thursday, January 22, 2015 — No Region Specified

Bill and Melinda Gates Want to Fix Another Messy Global Problem: Banking

Source: Quartz

Bill and Melinda Gates have taken on some of the world’s messiest problems, funding projects to improve the design of toilets and condoms and even create urine-powered fuel cells. Now, in their annual letter published today, they’re outlining ambitions to tackle another messy sector: banking.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 — South Asia

India’s Financial Inclusion Drive Sets Guinness World Record for Most Bank Accounts Opened in One Week

Source: The Indian Express

As many as 11.5 crore bank accounts have been opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, exceeding the enhanced target of 10 crore and covering 99.74 per cent of households, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 — South Asia

ICICI, India’s Largest Private Sector Bank, Launches Banking Service on Twitter

Source: The Hindu

ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, on Monday announced the launch of banking services on Twitter, the first of its kind service, in India.
Monday, January 19, 2015 — South Asia

Why 2015 Will Be Important for Financial Inclusion in India

Source: Business Today

The year 2015 could be a watershed year for India in its quest to provide access to a wide range of financial services to all its citizens.
Thursday, January 15, 2015 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Zambian MFIs Complain of Negative Impact of Bank of Zambia Interest Rates Limits

Source: Zambia Daily Mail

The decision by Bank of Zambia (BoZ) to limit interest rates that licenced non-banking financial institutions can charge customers had a negative effect on micro-finance institutions (MFIs) performance last year.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 — No Region Specified

End in Sight for World Bank's Controversial Reforms

Source: Devex

In an internal email to staff distributed Tuesday, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim set an end date for his reform agenda and announced that the global financial institution will provide more open-ended contracts for its employees — part of a new framework that supports the career development of staff.
Monday, January 12, 2015 — South Asia

Postal Bank Wins Government Backing in India

Source: The Telegraph

The government is looking to take the legislative route by next month to finalise the setting up of the Postal Bank of India and will soon approach the RBI to consider the postal department's application for a banking licence.
Friday, December 19, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Banking is Not Taking Off as Expected, Banker Warns

Source: BD Live

Mobile phones have been touted as the solution to banking for the poor in Africa, given that phone penetration is so high. However, some bankers warn it is not that simple.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Survey: In Nigeria, 2.6 Million Adults Have Microfinance Bank Accounts

Source: allAfrica

A survey carried out by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) Access to Financial Services in Nigeria in 2014 revealed that 2.6 million Nigerian adults representing 2.8 percent, currently have a microfinance bank account.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 — South Asia

Xerox Eyes Financial Inclusion, Caters to Banking Sector

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Banking, Financial Services & Insurance (BFSI) is a high-priority vertical for Xerox in India. Vishal Awal, Executive Director, Xerox South Asia spoke about how Xerox India is addressing technology requirements of the banking sector.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

Financial Inclusion: From Margins To Mainstream

Source: Forbes

Hundreds of millions of the world’s citizens today lack opportunities to join the financial services mainstream. Meanwhile, global financial institutions are missing out on a corresponding number of opportunities to refresh and grow their customer base, create prolific new markets, and develop sustainable demand for a new generation of products and services.
Thursday, December 4, 2014 — Latin America

PRESS RELEASE: Roundtable on Aging and Financial Inclusion in Latin America

Source: 3BL Media

Over 40 leaders from across Latin America, including the banking, microfinance, academic, and aging advocacy sectors, joined together in Bogota, Colombia for a roundtable on the topic of Aging and Financial Inclusion. This meeting focused specifically on aging demographics in Latin America and the increasing need for access to quality financial services—including pensions, savings, insurance, loans, and payments.
Thursday, December 4, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

United Bank of Africa, Airtel to Launch Mobile Financial Services Across Africa

Source: Ghana Web

United Bank for Africa (UBA) is partnering with telecoms firm, Bharti Airtel to provide mobile-based financial services across Africa through Airtel Money.
Thursday, December 4, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Firms, Aid Groups Help Filipinos Borrow From Banks Instead of Sharks

Source: Reuters

Housewife Jenny Orquiza, whose home was damaged by super typhoon Haiyan, did not imagine that the Philippines' biggest natural disaster would lead to her getting something she never had - a bank account.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

In Nigeria Mobile Banking Transactions Hit N430 Billion

Source: allAfrica

Mobile payments system, also known as mobile banking in the country has recorded a total of 15 million transactions since the inception of the scheme in 2012 with 58 million subscribers while the total value of the transactions till date is N430 billion.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 — South Asia

Only 48% of Indian Adults Have Access to Bank Accounts

Source: The Economic Times

Only 48 per cent of Indian adults have bank accounts and nearly half of them lie dormant, says a report. According to a nation-wide survey on financial behaviour, India has the highest account dormancy rate even more than countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN Launches Mobile Money Cross-Border Remittance Service Between Ivory Coast and Benin

Source: HumanIPO

Telecoms company MTN today launched mobile money cross-border remittance service between Ivory Coast and Benin. It said the service will further enable cheaper and easy movement of money in the West Africa region.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 — South Asia

Banks in India Charging 22% to 26% on Microloans to Poor Borrowers

Source: The Economic Times

When it comes to lending to the poor, it is not just the micro finance institutions that charge high interest rates, but even bulgebracket banks such as Axis Bank to YES Bank charge as much as 22% to 26% a year.
Monday, December 1, 2014 — South Asia

India’s New “Payment Banks” Expected to Spur Innovation

Source: Live Mint

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday released the final guidelines for licensing of payments and small banks. These banks are intended to cover the unbanked and underbanked areas and increase banking penetration in the country, stated the circular. Let’s take a look at the changes that these banks are likely to bring in financial services.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 — South Asia

Banks Get Better Access To Tap Micro Segment

Source: The Jakarta Post

The newly launched branchless banking regulation will enable banks to expand their financial services to disadvantaged and low-income segments at affordable costs, a senior official of the Financial Services Authority (OJK) has said.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 — South Asia

NBFCs say Reserve Bank of India's new rules will work against financial inclusion, drive towards unscrupulous moneylenders

Source: The Economic Times

On a typical day, Rohit Bokhare makes about Rs 800 taking passengers in his Mahindra Xylo between Saki Naka in Andheri and Adlabs Imagica on the Mumbai-Pune expressway in Raigad district. The 51-year-old defaulted on repayment of the loan he took to purchase the utility vehicle for four months, which led his financier to come inquiring. Shriram Transport Finance, the non-bank finance company that financed the vehicle, last week found his Xylo lying in a garage for repair for 20-25 days, blocking his regular cash flow. To top it up, Bokhare had a repair bill of Rs 20,000-25,000. He couldn't pay the EMIs in the previous months because of family exigencies.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 — North Africa and Near East

Finance: Egypt's Small Borrowers Have Big Potential

Source: The Africa Report

A new law permitting non-bank for-profit lending institutions may unleash a revolution in microfinance by allowing more actors and innovators to get involved.
Monday, November 24, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion and SMEs Set to Soar in Ghana

Source: The Worldfolio

Financial and insurance activities are expanding at roughly twice the pace of the overall economy and just 30 per cent of the population are formally banked, so industry leaders have good reason to be optimistic about the country’s financial services future.
Friday, November 21, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Access Bank, Airtel Team Up To Launch Nigeria’s Newest Mobile Money Service

Source: Ventures Africa

Nigeria’s fourth largest bank, Access Bank Plc, has signed a deal with Airtel Nigeria that will see its mobile money service run on the network of the mobile operator. The collaboration is aimed at boosting financial inclusion in the country.
TAGS:banking
Thursday, November 20, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN Uganda, Ericsson team up on mobile money service

Source: ITWeb Africa

Ericsson has announced that MTN Uganda has deployed the Ericsson Converged Wallet platform, enabling the operator to quickly introduce relevant, new and differentiated mobile financial services offerings for seven million MTN Uganda mobile wallet users and 50,000 agents
Thursday, November 20, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzania Leads Africa in Financial Inclusion

Source: AllAfrica

TANZANIA is the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa and ninth globally for demonstrating most conducive environments for financial inclusion, according to the new Global Microscope 2014 by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 — South Asia

Pakistan turns to biometrics for banking

Source: Planet Biometrics

Pakistan’s central bank has revealed it will implement biometric technology for identity verification developed by the country’s National Database and Registration Authority.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 — South Asia

Jan Dhan may win Guinness record for Modi, but duplicate accounts can burden banks

Source: FirstBiz

he Narendra Modi government is in dialogues with the Guinness World Records team to bag a record for the government for opening maximum number of bank accounts in minimum number of days, according to persons familiar with the development.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

G20 vows to reduce cost of transferring remittances to 5%

Source: Economic Times

Taking concerns of India and other developing countries on board, the G20 today vowed to take "strong practical" measures to reduce the global average cost of transferring remittances to five per cent.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: Accion and MasterCard Foundation Partner to Strengthen Board Governance in Africa

Source: PR Newswire

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion today announced a $6.1 millionpartnership with The MasterCard Foundation to launch the Accion Africa Board Fellowship program.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 — South Asia

India Post keen to become a universal bank

Source: Economic Times

India Post is interested in turning itself into a universal bank like many of its peers across the world and a committee under former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian is looking into the matter, a senior department official said today.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

U.S. Lags Behind G-7 in Bank Accounts as Poor Can’t Build Assets

Source: Bloomberg

The world’s largest economy lags behind other developed nations in banking participation.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Financial inclusion in India needs another model

Source: Hindu Business Line

Priority sector targets are met by means fair and foul. Competition in providing credit to the unbanked will work better
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

Credit for all: Increasing women's access to finance

Source: Trust.org

Women’s need for financial services may actually exceed that of men because they tend to live longer, have lower levels of formal employment, own fewer assets, and have less control over household finances.
Friday, November 7, 2014 — South Asia

Philippines Leads 12 Asian Nations in Giving Access to Finance

Source: Bloomberg

The Philippines provides the best access to financial services to people among 12 countries in Asia, reflecting the central bank’s efforts to boost inclusion and tackle poverty, an Economist Intelligence Unit study shows.
Thursday, November 6, 2014 — South Asia

India's financial inclusion scheme progressing ahead of schedule

Source: Times of India

At the current pace, it's a matter of days before bank employees help the government scale the target of opening 7.5 crore bank accounts under the financial inclusion scheme launched on August 29.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Survey: Banking growth has not boosted savings in South Africa

Source: Money Web

The number of banked South Africans has grown to 27.4 million over the past ten years, or about 75% of the total adult population. But this increase has not translated into a higher incidence of saving, with only 20% of banked adult South Africans saving either in banks or non-bank financial institutions.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 — South Asia

Indian start-up to enable bank transactions via kirana stores

Source: Business Standard

Novopay uses Aadhaar biometric scanner for dealings
Monday, November 3, 2014 — South Asia

Mumbai's dream of becoming an international financial center may soon be a reality

Source: Economic Times

Other centres in Asia may be losing their shine—Dubai is surrounded by geopolitical chaos and Singapore is apparently turning less attractive to expatriate workers due to slowing economic growth—marking an opportunity for Mumbai to aspire to that regional position.
Thursday, October 30, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda joins Better Than Cash Alliance as part of bid to achieve 80% financial inclusion by 2017

Source: FinExtra

Rwanda has joined the Better Than Cash Alliance to help accelerate the adoption of electronic payments in the country as part of a commitment to achieve 80% financial inclusion by 2017.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Indonesia Has More Smokers Than Bank Account Holders

Source: Global Indonesian Voices

Jakarta – Indonesia has a far greater number of smokers and mobile phone users than bank account holders, according to the Director General of Bank Mandiri, Budi Gunadi Sadikin.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 — South Asia

Task Force on India "Postal Bank" to submit report by year-end

Source: Business Standard

The Task Force set up by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to leverage the country's post office's network in a bid to advance financial inclusion will submit its report by the end of this year, a top government official said today.
Friday, October 24, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Regional Development Banks and Sharia Banks Can Go Mobile, says Indonesia's Financial Services Authority

Source: Jakarta Post

As part of efforts to open up greater public access to financial services, the Financial Services Authority (OJK) will regulate the implementation of branchless banking, especially for regional development banks (BPD) and sharia banks, a top official says.
Friday, October 24, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Equity's year-long thin SIM ‘live test’ will go on in Kenya, industry regulators tell MPs

Source: Standard Digital

Nairobi, Kenya: Central Bank Governor Njuguna Ndung’u and senior officials of the Communications Authority (CA) yesterday told MPs that the rollout of Equity Bank's Thin SIM on a trial basis for the next one year would not be stopped.
Thursday, October 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

Move over banks, Reserve Bank of India pushes for smart wallets

Source: dna

The RBI is running a pilot project with a group of private payment gateway operators like Oxigen and Airtel Money to facilitate money transfers without the intervention of a bank.
Thursday, October 23, 2014 — South Asia

eRezeki project to connect Malaysians at bottom 40% of income pyramid with digital income

Source: The Rakyat Post

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today announced the eRezeki project to connect Malaysians at the bottom 40% of the income pyramid (B40) with domestic and global digital income.
Thursday, October 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mozido Receives $185 Million in Series B Funding from MasterCard, Wellington Management Company...

Source: MarketWatch

Mozido, a provider of mobile financial, retail and marketing services, today announced a two-part round of Series B funding of up to $400 million.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Improving Financial Services for Indonesia’s Underserved

Source: Jakarta Post

Financial inclusion is about reaching out to the poor and vulnerable in ways that allow them to take part in the world of financial services either for saving or getting credit. There are at least three ways to do this.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenyan mobile money agents apprehensive of new Equity Bank service

Source: Coastweek

Mobile money agents in Kenya fear loss of business once a banking institution rolls out a cheaper cash transfer service.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

Here’s why emerging markets are a challenge for Apple Pay

Source: Quartz

Apple Pay could certainly be the nail in the wallet’s coffin, similar to what the iTunes model was for music when it was introduced in 2001. And this on the heels of the Twitter “buy” button, another move by a major tech titan to occupy the payments space via a mobile device.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda: Why Do Customers Fear Banks?

Source: allAfrica

In Uganda, many point to the success of mobile money in improving financial inclusion by promoting peer-to-peer money transfer.
Monday, October 20, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenyan President Kenyatta for thin-SIM card rollout and digital migration

Source: Human IPO

President Uhuru Kenyatta says he is in favor of Equity’s thin-SIM technology and digital migration.
Thursday, October 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MTN set to support money transfers between Rwanda and Uganda

Source: Biz Tech Africa

In a move aimed at warding off competition and increasing revenue collection from its mobile money service, MTN Uganda has partnered with MTN Rwanda to deliver cross border transactions between the two countries.
Thursday, October 16, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Equity set to offer free money transfer services

Source: The Star, Kenya

Equity Bank will not charge for mobile money transfer services on mobile virtual network, it said yesterday, but subscribers also have to hold accounts with the lender.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

PRESS RELEASE: Accion Venture Lab Invests in Kenyan Start-up Umati Capital

Source: Accion

Accion today announced an investment in Umati Capital, a Kenya-based lending company that provides invoice discounting and other forms of working capital financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in East Africa.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Data Specialist in Court Bid to Block Equity's SIM Card

Source: 4 Traders

Equity Bank's thin-SIM mobile money transfer system faces more hurdles after a data specialist went to court seeking to block its rollout.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

Nigerian Government Aims to Use Post Office to Reduce Unbanked Population to 10 Percent

Source: Nigerian Tribune

The Federal Government has said it would leverage the expansive network of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) to reduce the unbanked adult population in the country to 10 per cent by 2016.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 — South Asia

Coins.ph launches Bitcoin wallet tailored for emerging markets

Source: Tech In Asia

Yesterday, Coins.ph, the Philippines largest Bitcoin exchange, launched what it says is the first mobile Bitcoin wallet designed specifically for emerging markets.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 — South Asia

In Lending Circles, a Roundabout Way to a Higher Credit Score

Source: The New York Times

Shweta Kohli has always paid her own way.
Friday, October 10, 2014 — Asia Pacific

U.S. Opposing China’s Answer to World Bank

Source: New York Times

For almost a year, China has been pitching a big, internationally funded bank that would offer quick financing for badly needed transportation, telecommunications and energy projects in underdeveloped countries across the region. But the United States has not embraced the proposal.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: Here Comes the Internet of Money

Source: Bloomberg View

A new wave of financial innovation is forming, that could sweep over traditional banking, traditional payments systems, even the traditional idea of money.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 — South Asia

Operational difficulties complicate India’s ambitious financial inclusion scheme

Source: The Hindu

Banks in a tizzy over shortage of cards, duplication of accounts
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 — South Asia

CMD of Bandhan shares details about the new bank’s network, people and likely structure

Source: LiveMint

Kolkata-based Bandhan Financial Services Pvt. Ltd is one of two companies (IDFC Ltd is the other) preparing to convert themselves into banks, having received an ‘in-principle’ approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) six months back.
Friday, October 3, 2014 — No Region Specified

Gates Links Technology, Banking Services for Poor

Source: The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required)

Bill Gates is banking on digital technology to bring financial services to the world’s poor.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 — South Asia

Are Toilets and Bank Accounts Connected? In India, Yes

Source: Bloomberg

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to develop India includes creating toilet access for all 1.2 billion people and opening a bank account for every adult who doesn’t already have one.
Monday, September 29, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Are the RBI and Indian government headed for a face-off?

Source: First Biz

The Modi government has ignored warning signals raised by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) about the way the Jan Dhan Yojana financial inclusion scheme is being implemented.
Monday, September 29, 2014 — South Asia

India's cooperative banks emerge from technological dark ages

Source: Live Mint

The National Informatics Centre cooperative core banking solutions aims to address some of the concerns of financial inclusion in rural areas.
Monday, September 29, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Financial Inclusion: Ecobank, MasterCard Enter New Card Deal

Source: Ventures Africa

Sequel to a multi-country licensing agreement made between MasterCard and Ecobank in January, both institutions have signed another deal that will see the use of MasterCard prepaid, debit and credit cards at Ecobank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sale (PoS) terminals in 28 African countries.
Monday, September 22, 2014 — No Region Specified

JPMorgan Chase to spend $35m on promoting financial inclusion

Source: Finextra

This commitment builds on the efforts of the Financial Solutions LabSM, a separate five-year, $30 million program developed earlier this year by JPMorgan Chase and the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), to identify, test and scale innovative financial products and services to improve financial security.
Thursday, September 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

African depositors grew fivefold since 2004 according to IMF Financial Access Survey

Source: CPI Financial

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) survey revealed that among African countries reporting data on commercial bank depositors, depositors per 1,000 adults experienced a fivefold increase from 2004 to 2013, while simultaneously achieving a 40-percent growth in real GDP per capita.
Thursday, September 18, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom prepares for battle, sets date for new Mpesa network

Source: Standard Digital

The stage is set for deployment of Safaricom’s long-awaited new M-Pesa system, raising stakes in the ongoing battle between the mobile phone service provider and a slew of new entrants in the mobile money transfer business, led by Equity Bank.
Monday, September 15, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya MPs to rule on Equity Mobile Virtual Network Operator services

Source: East African Business Week

Equity Bank will have to wait a little longer before rolling out its Mobile Virtual Network Operator services in Kenya.
Thursday, September 11, 2014 — No Region Specified

PRESS RELEASE: Alliance for Financial Inclusion Reveals New Home in Malaysia and New Funding Partner With Omidyar

Source: Market Wired

AFI announced today that Malaysia, represented by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), will be the new host country for the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.
Thursday, September 11, 2014 — South Asia

Uber in talks with firms to integrate digital wallet in India

Source: Economic Times India

Global taxi-hailing company Uber is in talks with firms providing digital wallets and payment gateways in India as it looks to become compliant with local regulations.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 — South Asia

India's Bandhan Bank's plans to usher in a new model in financial inclusion

Source: The Hindu Businessline

Bandhan will start its journey with 600 branches. The microfinance company’s existing 2,016 offices will operate as sub-branches, each having an army of salaried field staff to take banking to the villages.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s telecom regulator moves to increase competition in money transfer business

Source: Standard Digital News

Communications Authority of Kenya ( CAK) has said it will not reverse its decision to allow Equity Bank to introduce mobile money transfer services despite protests from integrated communications service provider, Safaricom.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

Mobile Payments Pioneer: I’m Betting on Bitcoin For Emerging Markets

Source: CoinDesk

For mobile payments pioneer and venture capitalist Carol Realini, the financial world is divided into three camps: those who believe in bitcoin, those who don’t understand it and those have yet to consider or study its technology.
Monday, September 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Safaricom and Equity take Row over Thin SIM to Parliament

Source: Standard Digital

Kenya’s biggest mobile network operator, Safaricom, and biggest bank in terms of customer base and reach, Equity Bank, appeared before a House committee on their push and pull over Equity’s bid to offer mobile money services.
Thursday, August 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

India PM Launches Financial Inclusion Plan

Source: Zee News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched Jan Dhan Yojana, a mega financial inclusion plan under which bank accounts and RuPay debit cards with inbuilt insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh will be provided to crores of persons with no access to formal banking facilities.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 — South Asia

Indian PM asks banks to make financial inclusion a national priority

Source: Business Standard

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked banks to make the opening of bank accounts in 70 million households this year a national priority.
Monday, August 25, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Formal employment remains key to financial inclusion in India

Source: Indian Express

We believe the biggest boost to financial inclusion will come from a push to higher employment in the formal sector, especially regular, salaried employment.
Friday, August 22, 2014 — South Asia

India's ICICI Bank plans to add more than 1.5 million accounts in FY15

Source: Business Standard

ICICI Bank-India's largest private sector bank-in a move to take ahead its financial inclusion strategy is planning to add another 1.5 million bank accounts in this financial year.
Friday, August 22, 2014 — South Asia

Bharti Airtel in talks with State Bank of India for mega alliance

Source: Economic Times

Days after the Reserve Bank of India introduced draft norms for small and payments banks to boost financial inclusion, the nation's largest telco and the nation's largest lender are exploring a mega alliance.
Thursday, August 21, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor asks bankers to be innovative on home loans

Source: The Indian Express

Reserve Bank Deputy Governor R Gandhi today asked lenders to be more financially innovative in designing home loan products and suggested creation of a periodic deposit-linked facility.
Thursday, August 21, 2014 — South Asia

Indian MFIs lap up Narendra Modi's financial inclusion drive, plan major expansion

Source: Economic Times

MUMBAI: Enthused by the Centre's plan to open 7.5 crore bank accounts over the next few years, MFIs and other such financial institutions that are working in rural areas have charted out massive expansion plans.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 — South Asia

Financial inclusion in India may remain an unsolved puzzle for now

Source: Business Standard

Days after the PM announced a financial inclusion package, a look at how banks and insurance firms are going about it & what lies ahead.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: A Critical New Role for the World Bank

Source: New York Times

The bank should rise to the challenges posed by remittances — a critical tool in the fight against world poverty.
Monday, August 18, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: By making ATM transactions expensive, the Reserve Bank of India is contradicting its own stance

Source: First Biz

On Thursday, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permitted banks to charge customers for using other bank ATMs more than thrice a month and that of own-banks more than five times, the apex bank was contradicting its own stated policy stance of encouraging public to alternative banking channels and, then gradually, to paperless banking.