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, 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.
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.
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 — 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.
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.
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 — 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.
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".
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

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.
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.
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.
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 — No Region Specified

Credit for all: Increasing women's access to finance


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.
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
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

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.
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.
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 launches Bitcoin wallet tailored for emerging markets

Source: Tech In Asia

Yesterday,, 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

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 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 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.
Monday, August 18, 2014 — South Asia

Narendra Modi government to pay banks fee for pursuing financial inclusion plan in India

Source: Economic Times

MUMBAI: Government has agreed to give banks some commission for pursuing the financial inclusion plan announced by the prime minister on the Independence Day.
Friday, August 15, 2014 — South Asia

Modi Promises Access to Banking for India's Poor

Source: The New York Times

Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised on Friday greater access to financial services for nearly 500 million Indians who do not have a bank account, many of whom are now at the mercy of money lenders who charge extortionate interest.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

OPINION: Microloans for consumption spell ruin

Source: Financial Mail

AFRICAN Bank may have been the first to fall, but this is just one part of a tragic story that concerns all microlenders who provide cash loans to fund consumption, which affects SA much more broadly and deeply than the collapse of a single business.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Embattled African Bank gets bailed out

Source: Business Day Live

AFRICAN Bank has been bailed out as the Reserve Bank said on Sunday it would pay R7bn for its bad loan book, which allows it to continue lending and safeguards its retail deposits.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 — South Asia

Largest transaction in Indian microfinance since 2010

Source: Microfinance Focus

Janalakshmi, a microfinance institution headquartered in Bangalore, announced that it had closed its Series D primary equity raise of INR 3.25 billion.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 — South Asia

Indian MFIs demand more incentives for working as business correspondents

Source: Business Standard

According to survey by microfinance institution network (MFIN), published in February this year, nine out of 14 MFIs closed their operation as BCs in the recent past.
Monday, August 11, 2014 — South Asia

RuPay cards to replace Aadhaar in welfare scheme authentication in India

Source: Economic Times India

The finance ministry has decided to limit Aadhaar's role in its welfare scheme payments and, instead, use ATM-enables RuPay cards for last-mile authentication to withdraw money.
Thursday, August 7, 2014 — South Asia

Indian Banks to ensure minimum remuneration to business correspondents

Source: Business Standard

Over 220,000 BCs had been appointed by banks after the RBI pushed this as a cost-effective way of extending banking services to the unbanked villages
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

Unitus crosses $1 bn mark in capital raised

Source: Business Standard

Unitus Capital, an investment banking firm focussed on meeting the financing needs of impact entrepreneurs serving the bottom of the economic pyramid, has announced that it has crossed the $1 billion mark in raising funds.
Monday, August 4, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

What Vodacom has learned from M-PESA’s initial failure in South Africa

Source: Gadget

Following a disastrous South African launch in 2010, Vodacom has redesigned and re launched m-pesa, the mobile money service that has transformed the Kenyan economy. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK considers its chances of success.
Friday, August 1, 2014 — No Region Specified

Banking For The Poor: Will This Be Bill Gates' Greatest Philanthropic Achievement?

Source: Forbes

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has given away more than $28 billion, comfortably making him the world’s greatest living philanthropist.
Friday, August 1, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India's move to issue differentiated banking licences is path-breaking - but challenges remain

Source: Business Today

The RBI's move to issue differentiated banking licences is path-breaking but challenges galore.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

EcoCash Launches Africa’s first physical MasterCard companion card in Zimbabwe

Source: Biztechafrica

Econet’s Mobile Money service, EcoCash, has announced a landmark agreement with MasterCard that will significantly assist in reducing cash dependence and increase financial inclusion through the provision of electronic payments in Zimbabwe.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — South Asia

Indian government aims to open 7.5 crore bank accounts by August 15, 2018

Source: Economic Times India

The NDA government has drafted a new financial inclusion plan that aims to open 7.5 crore bank accounts in rural and urban areas and extend financial services to all citizens by August 15, 2018.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

M-PESA’s back: Vodacom relaunches mobile money in South Africa

Source: htxt

Vodacom has announced that it is relaunching its M-PESA mobile money payments system today, with a new look design for South Africans.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: Survival Instinct Takes Over As Banks Partner With Telecoms

Source: AllAfrica

As the fight for customers between banks and telecoms continues to grow by the day, banks have realised that the only way to ease the pressure and also stay competitive is to work with telecoms.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India survey finds 47 percent of banking agents 'untraceable'

Source: The Financial Express

The success of the government’s thrust on financial inclusion, which largely hinges on the role played by business correspondents (BCs), is faced with a harsh reality check.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 — South Asia

Mobile wallet a distant dream in India

Source: Times of India

Despite a huge unbanked population and 700 million cellphone connections, the concept of mobile wallet will take some time to become popular in India as people are still unaware of its larger benefits like financial inclusion, even as the standards to make it functional are yet to be in place, experts maintain.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 — South Asia

Taking financial inclusion beyond bank accounts in India

Source: The Financial Express

Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the grand financial inclusion plan last week, which he is going to unveil on August 15.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

What Nigeria needs to drive mobile money growth

Source: BusinessDay Online

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy by GDP, will require a national accelerator programme to drive the adoption and usage of mobile money services by the vast majority of Nigerians, said Emmanuel Okoegwale, principal consultant at Mobile Money Africa.
Monday, July 28, 2014 — South Asia

Payment banks to be new revenue stream for India’s telcos

Source: Business Standard

Analysts expect all telcos to join the race; a liberal policy could boost revenues by 7-8% for the sector
Friday, July 25, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

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

Source: Capital FM Kenya

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

Kenya's Airtel sticks to its case against Safaricom

Source: Mobile World Live

Kenyan operator Airtel has pledged to continue its case against larger rival Safaricom over what it charges for access to its M-Pesa mobile money transfer service, said Business Daily.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 — South Asia

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

Source: Global Post

BEIJING, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Microcredit companies in China issued 61.8 billion yuan (about 10 billion U.S. dollars) of new loans in the first half of 2014, industry figures showed on Wednesday.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

Does the World Still Need the World Bank?

Source: Bloomberg View

There will always be a need for a World Bank, which celebrates a birthday of sorts Tuesday. There is no need for a World Bank with more than 10,000 employees.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — South Asia

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

Source: Quartz

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

Financial Inclusion in Paraguay: New Mobile Money Regulation

Source: GSMA

The opportunity to increase financial access in Paraguay is massive.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 — South Asia

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

Source: FirstBiz

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

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

Source: MicroCapital

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

International Reform Activists Dissatisfied by BRICS Bank

Source: Inter Press Service

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

Rwanda: Why Farmers Are Loyal to Micro-Finance Institutions

Source: AllAfrica

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

5 things you need to know about the New Development Bank

Source: The Straits Times

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

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

Source: FirstBiz

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

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

Source: PC Advisor

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

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

Source: Economic Times India

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

Telecel Zimbabwe launches mobile money credit card

Source: ITWeb Africa

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

Kenya mobiles step up rivalry

Source: East African Business Week

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya’s lucrative mobile money transfer market is set for unprecedented competition following the entry of three additional telecoms operators with intention to have a piece of the sector’s billion shillings pie.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile payments ideal for Africa

Source: ITWeb Africa

In emerging markets, mobile money has the power to transform lives, says Gemalto.
Friday, July 11, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

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

Source: The Africa Report

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

Incentives to lift mobile money uptake

Source: ITWeb

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

Fraudulent Mobile Money Transactions by Staff Cost MTN Uganda Billions

Source: Tech Moran

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

Nigeria Launches National Bank Verification Scheme

Source: Ventures Africa

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

Big Three Credit Rating Agency Courts Impact Investing at Right Moment

Source: Student Reporter

NEW YORK — It’s not without rhyme or reason that a credit rating agency like Moody’s Investors Service suddenly takes an interest in the impact investing field. For Mark Tulay, founder and CEO of Sustainability Risk Advisors and Sustainability ROI, this institution has good reasons to do so. “Credit raters see that climate change could, or likely will, lead to an environmental crisis that will create the next economic crisis,” said Tulay at the TBLI CONFERENCE USA 2014.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 — South Asia

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

Source: First Post India

Financial inclusion, the buzzword that Manmohan Singh government used quite freely during his term in office, is likely to be part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lexicon as well. But the question is, how will he implement it?
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

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

Source: Standard Digital

Kenya: The black swan theory provides an interesting way of looking at the business world. But for many entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, this theory — which describes an event that comes as a surprise and has a major effect — is yet to be ingrained in their way of life. And this is despite the fact that innovations that turn the world of business upside down often, if not always, come from “unexpected” quarters.
Monday, July 7, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

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

Source: memeburn

South Africa’s perceived ‘failure to launch’ in respect to mobile money needs to be put into a global context. In the latest MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index, only four countries – Singapore, Canada, the US and Kenya – score higher than 40 out of a possible 100. The inflection point, according to the report, sits at 60, highlighting the fact that in most cases mobile payments has been a solution looking for a problem.
Monday, July 7, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya's mobile innovation brings digital money closer

Source: BBC News

Kenyan financial services heavyweight Equity Bank is planning to roll out mobile banking services in July, using innovative paper-thin SIM technology.
Thursday, July 3, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

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

Source: HumanIPO

East Africa will soon have a common mobile money platform that will enable users to send money from one country to another without any difficulty under exchange rates approved by central banks.
Thursday, July 3, 2014 — South Asia

Mobile money and digitized payments have few takers in India

Source: LiveMint

Lack of awareness and difficult access are the main hurdles
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ugandan banks look to expand reach through agents

Source: The Observer

At least six banks have expressed interest in using agents to reach out to people outside the formal banking institutions, Bank of Uganda has said.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile virtual operators compete with established players in Africa

Source: PC Advisor

Players in the traditional telecoms market have struggled in countries where extensive infrastructure is needed
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

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

Source: Standard Digital

Pressure is mounting on the Consumer Federation of Kenya ( Cofek) to stop opposing the award of licences to Equity Bank and two other Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) and support the venture.
Monday, June 30, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria’s Microfinance Banks Ready To Go Cashless

Source: The Nigerian Observer

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

Impact investing on the cusp of mainstream wealth management

Source: Investment News

The news releases arrived in noteworthy succession throughout 2013. Morgan Stanley,UBS AG, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and JPMorgan Chase & Co. — some of the biggest names in the financial services industry — announced plans to establish or augment their activities around impact investing.
Monday, June 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

Two Financial Titans Open Their Vaults to Impact Investing

Source: Student Reporter

Started a few years ago by a small band of pioneers, impact investing has gained traction and is now drawing the attention of large international banks. Large financial institutions such as BNP Paribas and Citigroup, based in Europe and the United States, respectively, are developing various projects in the field of social and sustainable finance.
Friday, June 27, 2014 — South Asia

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

Source: Business Standard

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

As the World Bank Turns

Source: Huffington Post

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

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

Source: Huffington Post Impact

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

The Slumdog Millionaire Architect

Source: The New York Times

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

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

Source: ReadWrite

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

BitPesa set to launch in Nairobi

Source: HumanIPO

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

‘Mobile money, Bitcoin driving down African remittance costs’

Source: ITWeb Africa

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

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

Source: Quartz

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

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

Source: Light Reading India

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

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

Source: Ventures Africa

VENTURES AFRICA – UK-based telecom giant, Orange and the French banking group, BNP Paribas have teamed up to roll out mobile money services for Africans, joining the growing pool of mobile money providers and reaffirming the increasing prominence the innovative service is taking in the continent’s financial sector.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 — No Region Specified

Bank of Ghana backs down on microfinance freeze

Source: Ghana Web

The Bank of Ghana says it has abandoned its initial plans to suspend the issuance of new operating licences to microfinance companies.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 — No Region Specified


Source: Tech Moran

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

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

Source: DW

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

Mobile Payment Transactions Hit N271 Billion in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

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

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

Source: Business Standard

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

Mobile money remittances for Zimbabwean expats

Source: ITWeb Africa

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

Mobile Money Revolution Rises Cyber Security Risk In Africa

Source: AFK Insider

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

MFIs tapping capital market not a good idea: Yunus

Source: Business Standard

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

World Bank, Firstmonie partner to advance mobile money in Nigeria

Source: HumanIPO

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

This Credit Union in Disguise Is Helping Poor Latino Communities

Source: National Journal

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

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

Source: Standard Digital

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

My Day Without Banks

Source: National Journal

Lesson one from navigating the archipelago of check cashers, payday lenders, and discount store money desks: it’s expensive to be poor.
Monday, June 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: Vox Media

As solutions to global poverty go, "just give poor people money" is pretty rock solid.
Monday, June 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: Forbes

“Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor,” the great American author James Baldwin wrote in 1960.More than half a century later, his words ring true to the 46 million Americans who live below the poverty line and to the millions more who are struggling to stay above it.
Friday, June 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

Ten Days in Kenya With No Cash, Only a Phone

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Even farther into the country, a few miles from the Ugandan border in a town called Bungoma, I find Gertrude Wamalwa working her farm plot, a rust-colored scarf tied across her forehead and a machete in her leathered hands. Wamalwa and her Bungoma neighbors don’t appear to have any connection to mobile money.
Monday, June 2, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: The New India Express

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

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

Source: Market Watch

Led by the Center for Financial Services Innovation, the Lab intends to catalyze, test and scale promising innovations that help people increase savings, improve credit and build assets
Friday, May 30, 2014 — No Region Specified


Source: Mobile Commerce Press

Thursday, May 29, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s Virtual Operators Add Twist To Mobile Money Revolution

Source: AFK Insider

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

World Bank Revamping Is Rattling Employees

Source: The New York Times

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

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

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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

Mobile wallets struggle to gain currency in India

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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

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

Source: AllAfrica

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

How Equity plans to take on Safaricom in mobile payments

Source: Standard Digital

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

Mobile offers brighter future for Africa's rural homes

Source: BBC News

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

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

Source: ITWeb Africa

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

JPMorgan Chase announces $100M Detroit investment

Source: Yahoo! Finance

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

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

Source: WorldStage

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

PSI plans health app with Telenor, Ooredoo

Source: Myanmar Times

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

Agent Banking as a Tool for Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh

Source: The Financial Express

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

Mobile money use on the rise in West Africa

Source: PC Advisor

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

Smart, Citi tie-up for e-payments


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

Vodacom Tanzania, CBA launch mobile money banking product

Source: HumanIPO

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

Why Government Should Help Poor People Get Bank Accounts

Source: Governing

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

Citi starts Latin American mobile startup challenge

Source: Banking Technology

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

Promoting Access to Finance in Nigeria

Source: This Day Live

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

Indian Mobile Payment Market Poised for Massive Growth

Source: Cisco

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

CWC Launches Panama’s First Mobile Money Service

Source: Developing Telecoms

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

Africa Progress Report Asks Governments To Promote Mobile Banking

Source: AFK Insider

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

Tanzania: Mobile Money Services Register Boom

Source: AllAfrica

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

How Non-Profits Are Cashing In on the Cryptocurrency Boom

Source: Motherboard

Bitcoin is often discussed as the backbone of the online drug trade, an interesting speculative investment, or simply a futuristic way to order pizza. But proponents say the cryptocurrency also has great potential for the nonprofit world.
Friday, May 9, 2014 — Asia Pacific

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

Source: The Economic Times

If you can't beat them, outspend them. That seems to be the thinking behind a huge new infrastructure investment fund being promoted by China as an alternative to established international lending agencies.
Friday, May 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: The Times of India

Children older than 10 years will no longer need the help of their parents or guardians to open and operate a savings bank account. To boost financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday said that banks were at liberty to allow minors above 10 years to independently open and operate savings bank accounts.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

Making banking more secure, convenient through verification number

Source: Nigerian Tribune

The World Bank Group’s newly launched Global Financial Development Report 2014 on Financial Inclusion estimated that half the world’s adults, approximately 2.5 billion individuals, do not have an account with a formal financial institution.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: Business Insider

A central conceit of Bitcoin evangelists is that the cryptocurrency could be most useful to "the global unbanked."
Monday, May 5, 2014 — South Asia

Indian microfinance bank Bandhan plans to open 600 branches

Source: The Hindu

Microfinance outfit Bandhan Financial Services Ltd., which got a banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India on April 9, is planning to open around 600 branches, its Chairman and Managing Director Chandra Sekhar Ghosh said.
Monday, May 5, 2014 — No Region Specified

JP Morgan & GIIN survey highlights higher impact investment commitments

Source: Investment Europe

Widespread commitment to allocate 19% more capital to impact investments in 2014 compared to 2013 revealed by JP Morgan and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) survey.
Friday, May 2, 2014 — Asia Pacific

Philippines Using Postal Banks to Advance Financial Inclusion

Source: Philippine Information Agency

The Philippine Postal Savings Bank (Postbank) inaugurated Tuesday this week two branches of its Microfinance Banking Office (MBO) or Bangko sa Nayon in Albay alongside the government efforts to pursue inclusive growth particularly on the countryside.
Friday, May 2, 2014 — South Asia

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

Source: The Free Press Journal

However, the move has faced serious opposition from various departments in the central bank.
Thursday, May 1, 2014 — No Region Specified

E-banking Central to Uruguay Financial Inclusion Law

Source: BN Americas

Electronic banking services will play a central role in Uruguay's new financial inclusion law, approved by the senate last week, local paper Espectador reported.
Thursday, May 1, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

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

Source: Tech Republic

Microfinancing platform Zidisha is changing the way microlending works. By cutting out the middle man, they have drastically reduced interest rates for borrowers in the developing world.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

9 telecoms announce interoperable mobile money

Source: Telecom Lead

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

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

Source: Devex

If any economist had said when the Asian Development Bank was founded, that in just 45 years China would become the world's second-largest economy and India the fourth in terms of purchasing power parity, he would have been dismissed.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 — Europe & Eurasia

Jamaica Micro Financing Association Urges Microfinancers to Lend to SMEs

Source: Jamaica Observer

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

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


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

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

Source: Standard Digital Business

If you fail to pay your water, electricity or telephone bills, you will find it very difficult to borrow money from any financial institution.
Monday, April 28, 2014 — No Region Specified

The do's and don'ts of agent banking

Source: The Financial Express

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

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

Source: Business Standard

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

ICD boosting activity in Africa to widen Islamic finance appeal

Source: Reuters

The private sector arm of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank [ISDBA.UL] plans to increase its activities in Africa, part of plans to widen the appeal of Islamic finance across the region, its chief executive said.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 — No Region Specified

The democratic disruption of finance

Source: The Guardian

Bitcoin is just one example of a process that will challenge regulators to adapt.
Monday, April 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: Business Standard

The Union finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have raised questions on viability and implementation of the recommendations made in the Nachiket Mor committee's report. The panel had, among other things, suggested a new banking structure to foster financial inclusion.
Monday, April 21, 2014 — No Region Specified

Postal bank test awaits new government in India

Source: The Telegraph India

he high profile spat between the Reserve Bank of India and the finance ministry over converting India’s loss-making 1.54 lakh post offices under India Post into a bank is likely to be one of the challenging issues that the next government will have to handle.
Monday, April 14, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: Business Standard

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

Kenya officially gives green light to three mobile virtual network operators

Source: IT Web Africa

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

Value lending for MFIs to reduce risk

Source: The Financial Express

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

Tigo partners with 17 banks on cash transfers

Source: Daily News

TIGO has partnered with 17 major banks in Tanzania to enable its clients send and receive money through transactions between the banks and Tigo Pesa.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: How We Made It In Africa

Close to 70% of the world’s active mobile money customers are in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Aaron Oliver, head of emerging payments for Middle East and Africa at MasterCard.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money Security is Kenya’s Next Big Challenge

Source: IT Web Africa

Attention needs to be paid to the security of mobile money systems in Kenya especially with the licensing of three virtual network operators in the country, say experts.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 — Latin America

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

Source: MicroCapital

FIELCO expects to use Incofin IM’s expertise in international microfinance to “strengthen its governance, focus on social performance and overall structure”
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

OPINION: Only New Products Will Keep MFIs Growing in Rwanda

Source: allAfrica

Through innovation, it is possible for the sector to financially reach the unbanked population and drive home the EDPRS II objectives, especially in the rural areas.
Monday, April 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

Commercial banks in India increasingly targeting low-income borrowers

Source: Deccan Herald

At a time when microfinance institutions (MFIs) are getting into the banking business, commercial banks too have developed a liking for lending directly to the poor -- an area until now dominated by traditional MFIs and informal lenders.
Monday, April 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Having started commercial micro-finance operations in 2005, Bandhan Financial Services Pvt Ltd is now set to become a full fledged commercial bank, headquartered in Kolkata. In an interview to Business Line, Chairman and Managing Director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh explains why Bandhan bank will bring a common man’s perspective into banking.
Friday, April 4, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: Banking Technology

Why are different parts of Africa experiencing widely different levels of success with mobile banking, despite years of experience in Kenya? Panellists at the IPS conference in London offered a range of explanations
Friday, April 4, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: First Post India

The RBI’s decision on Wednesday to “consider” the application of Department of Posts for a banking license “separately in consultation with the Government of India” is literally a slap in the face for the finance ministry.
Friday, April 4, 2014 — No Region Specified

OPINION: The Reserve Bank of India's welcome conservatism

Source: Business Standard

More than four years after the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced the government's intention to issue more banking licences, this has indeed been done. In 2010, there was much fervour about financial inclusion and, against that backdrop, new banks were seen as an important means of boosting capacity and penetration of financial services.
Thursday, April 3, 2014 — South Asia

India Announces First Bank Licences in a Decade

Source: Global Post

India on Wednesday announced it was issuing two new bank licenses for the first time in a decade as it accelerates a push to bring more Indians into the formal banking system.
Thursday, April 3, 2014 — South Asia

Reorienting Financial Inclusion in India

Source: The Financial Express

Fixing small business finance is a great place to start improving financial inclusion. This is a reform that is overdue and should not wait.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 — No Region Specified

World Bank to Appoint 'Global Practices' Directors This Week

Source: Devex

World Bank President Jim Kim announced on Monday that the appointment of senior directors of the bank’s “global practices” will be finalized later this week ahead of the institution’s spring meetings.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

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

Source: Reuters

The launch targets 7 M in Romania who mainly use cash and M-Pesa has 16.8 M active customers in emerging markets.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 — Latin America

Sustaining Recent Social Progress May Require a Squeeze on the Rich

Source: The Economist

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

Banks Outshine Agriculture, Manufacturing in GDP Input in Rwanda

Source: All Africa

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

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

Source: TechZim

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

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

Source: Business Day

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

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

Source: Live Mint

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

Ghana’s Fidelity Bank inaugurates agency banking

Source: Ghana Web

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

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

Source: Business Standard

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

Banks, Corruption and Crypto: Can Bitcoin Change India?

Source: CoinDesk

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

Saving Nigeria’s micro-finance banking sector

Source: The Sun

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

Indian banks develop a liking for microlending

Source: Live Mint

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

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

Source: Business Day Online Nigeria

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

Indian Microfinance Body Seeks RBI Nod for Self-regulatory Status

Source: The Times of India

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

Kenya leads African peers in financial access

Source: Standard Digital

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

Addressing financial exclusion in Pakistan

Source: Business Recorder

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

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

Source: Fast Co.Create

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

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

Source: DNA India

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

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

Source: NPR

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

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

Source: All Africa

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

FinScope reveals significant increase in financial services inclusion in South Africa

Source: EPROP

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

OPINION: Islamic Microfinance can eradicate poverty in Muslim world

Source: Pakistan Observer

Half of global poverty resides in Muslim world while the Muslim population is 24% of the total global population, if the dangerously increasing poverty in the Muslim community is not controlled soon then it will be alarming. These concerns were addressed by Muhammad Zubair Mughal, Chief Executive Officer, AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics while speaking at Islamic Microfinance Symposium held at Tunis and organized by Tunis Association of Islamic Economics with association of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and German Donor Agency GIZ.
Thursday, March 6, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

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

Source: Mobile Punch Nigeria

The Managing Director, Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, on Tuesday said that the Central Bank of Nigeria had approved the liquidation of 83 licensed microfinance banks.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 — No Region Specified

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


The American Bankers Association and Operation HOPE announced a new partnership to expand financial literacy empowerment, economic energy, and good credit for youth and adults over the next two years.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 — South Asia

Mobile banking key to financial inclusion in Bangladesh

Source: The Daily Star

Mobile banking is the perfect platform for Bangladesh to take financial services to the country's largely unbanked population in an efficient and low-cost manner, an analyst from Visa said.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda accuses World Bank of aid blackmail

Source: Business Day

Uganda accused the World Bank of blackmail on Friday after the lender stalled a $90m loan over the east African nation’s adoption of a draconian anti-gay law.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 — South Asia

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

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Financial inclusion is not yet a profitable proposition, but banks remain gung-ho about the initiative, predicting future dividends from the market reach that comes with improved access to finance.
Monday, March 3, 2014 — No Region Specified

What if America's unbanked had mobile wallets?

Source: CNN Money

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

Mobile banking spreading to Asia and Latin America

Source: SciDevNet

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

MTN and Ecobank offer Ghana subscribers access to cardless ATM services

Source: HumanIPO

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

Kenya's Equity Bank Seeks Share of Telco Business

Source: Daily Nation

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

Mastercard Exec Discusses Business Opportunities and Challenges in India

Source: Live Mint

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

Indian bank launches “Branch on Wheels”

Source: My Iris

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

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

Source: Tech Moran

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

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

Source: International Business Times

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

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

Source: WorldStage Group

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

Fears Of China's Shadow Banking Implosion Are Overblown

Source: Forbes

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

Payment Banks as Financial Levellers

Source: Live Mint

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

Chinese microcredit firm moves into online P2P lending

Source: South China Morning Post

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

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

Source: Economic Times

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

Are Kenya's mobile banking services unfair?

Source: CNN Money

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

Column: E-nabling financial inclusion

Source: The Financial Express

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

Private banks go offbeat to make inclusion effective

Source: Business Standard

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

Mobile cash delights tithe-eager pastors in Zimbabwe

Source: New Zimbabwe

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

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

Source: The Guardian

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

Reserve Bank of India Eases Lending Norms for Microfinance Institutions

Source: Live Mint

Move gives more leeway to medium-sized micro lenders to price their loans based on their cost borrowings
Friday, February 7, 2014 — No Region Specified

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

Source: The Economist

A STORY in the finance section this week looks at what has happened to microfinance interest rates. To summarise briefly: we argue that as microfinance for the very poorest borrowers has expanded, microfinance institutions (MFIs) have had to raise their rates. As MFIs target poorer, less reliable customers, they need to charge higher rates to cover increased defaults and steeper funding costs.