BRAC Bank to offer banking inclusion for CMSEs and women in Bangladesh
By Gloria Mathias
BRAC Bank has received approval with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to leverage the digitalization of banking products and services to cater to a significant number of cottage micro and small enterprises (CMSEs) and women in the banking system.
The USA-based private foundation has extended the grant to facilitate a set of milestones towards greater financial inclusion in Bangladesh.
As a progressive bank for digital financial inclusion, BRAC Bank has introduced its digital banking app, ‘Astha’, and smart financing processing system, ‘Shafollo’. BRAC Bank will mobilise its entire network and verticals to reach untapped communities, and digital interventions will be the main medium to attain the fastest and farthest outcome.
A major goal of this program is to provide digital lending solutions to CMSEs with unsecured, low-cost and less-documentation small-ticket financing through the digital lending application, Shafollo. Besides, marginal women will be empowered with customised formal banking products and services through agent banking, various market linkage programs and capacity development programs.
Selim R. F. Hussain, Managing Director & CEO, BRAC Bank, expressed, “At BRAC Bank, we always take inspiration from our founder, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, in working for social empowerment and financial inclusion of women. This grant from a globally renowned institution will help us expand inclusive initiatives and reach the grassroots level. This strategic project will empower micro-entrepreneurs and women to imprint their digital footprints and shape the digital financial inclusion landscape of the country. With this international collaboration, we aim to take our financial inclusion initiatives to new heights.”
Syed Abdul Momen, BRAC Bank’s Deputy Managing Director & Head of SME Banking, stated, “The grant will provide us with new impetus to broaden our digital financial inclusion initiatives. We will leverage on our extensive network, comprehensive Women Banking Segment TARA, and digital banking capabilities to best utilize the fund, bring more grassroots women and CMSEs into banking, and strengthen their digital presence.”
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