BRAC Bank has announced a strategic initiative aimed at improving digital financial services for Bangladeshi migrants living and working abroad.
Supported by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), a UN agency focused primarily on making public and private finance work for the poor in 47 least developed countries, the new initiative aims at improving options for remittances—the funds that migrants send to their loved ones back home—by expanding digital remittance channels and linking digital remittances to other financial products.
The COVID-19 crisis heightened the need for digital financial products. The dominant remittance model has long relied on migrants bringing physical cash to a bricks-and-mortar money transfer outlet in the host country and transacting in person: lockdowns made that impossible for months.
BRAC Bank’s new initiative will ensure that its innovative solutions and digital remittance channels present the migrant workers of Bangladesh and their remittance beneficiaries at home with easy access to cashless remittance transactions and secure savings under online banking networks. The migrant customers and their in-country loved ones will also receive training and social media tutorials.
Remittance receivers will be able to receive remittances to their accounts or wallets, through various channels like in cards, faster direct account credits, and even without exchange houses in the middle through white-label app products.
Selim RF Hussain, the Managing Director and CEO of BRAC Bank, said in this regard: “We are proud to be associated with UNCDF for expanding the financial ecosystem beyond remittances to enable greater financial inclusion for the Bangladeshi diaspora and their families as well.”
With support from the UNCDF, BRAC Bank will link the remittance channel with its value-added services and strengthen digital use-cases to encourage migrant wage earners to send remittances using the Bank’s cashless remittance channel. It will allow the migrants and their beneficiaries to benefit by saving time and cost as well as circumventing mobility and access constraints.
For UNCDF, the work with BRAC Bank is one part of a global push towards inclusive digital economies that leave no one behind.
“More than 270 million people, or roughly four percent of the global population, live and work outside their home countries,” explained Amil Aneja, UNCDF lead specialist on migration and remittances. “Like everyone else, they and their families back home need safe, affordable, and convenient financial services. As one of the ten biggest remittance-receiving countries in the world, Bangladesh is an important market for UNCDF’s work in this area, even more so since the volume is expected to grow by an estimated eight per cent, to USD 20 billion, in the next year. We look forward to working with BRAC Bank, which has a strong history of innovation, to scale up digital remittances as the gateway product for broader financial inclusion.”