bKash Limited, a joint venture company between BRAC Bank Ltd., Bangladesh, and Money in Motion LLC, USA, signed an agreement on December 5th, 2010. ShoreBank International, an international consulting firm, to partner in providing financial services through an extensive network of community-based agents and existing technology, including mobile phones.
bKash is working to provide an electronic platform to increase the access to a broader range of financial services for both banked and unbanked people of Bangladesh. It has a special focus to serve the low income people of the country and promote sustainable micro-savings to achieve broader financial inclusion by providing financial services that are convenient, affordable, and reliable. The innovative offering is designed to address the biggest barrier facing the region\s poor – limited access to financial services.
By working with bKash, ShoreBank will strengthen the company\s capacity with regard to strategic and operational planning, customer uptake, marketing, building the agent network, technology, and cash management, all under the umbrella of promoting financial inclusion. On November 16, 2010, ShoreBank announced that it has received a $10 million grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support this enterprise.
This venture is being supported by BRAC Bank Ltd., which has the potential to bring a large percentage of the population that is not reached by the formal banking system. BRAC Bank, one of the leading private banks in the country, has a fundamental mission to focus on expanding access to finance in Bangladesh.
"bKash presents a compelling business plan which capitalizes on a ripe economy to dramatically expand access to formal financial services, both as an extension of BRAC Bank and as a full-scale mobile phone-based payment switch. This will highly benefit the country as 83% of the population lives under $2 a day and access to finance can help in improving their economic situation," said Rumee Ali, Chairman of BRAC Bank and Chairman of bKash.
ShoreBank International Ltd. is an international consulting firm that advises all types of financial institutions in emerging economies to achieve greater inclusive finance. ShoreBank is dedicated to expanding access to capital, information and services for small and growing businesses, entrepreneurs, and households, to create an inclusive global financial system. Since 1988, ShoreBank has worked in more than 76 countries, helping more than 200 commercial banks, microfinance entities, and other institutions to reach individuals and entrepreneurs who are otherwise too poor or too small to obtain access to quality financial services.
Present in the signing ceremony were Sir F. H. Abed, Chairman of BRAC, Rumee Ali, Chairman of BRAC Bank and bKash, Kamal Quadir, CEO of bKash