This post is part of Financial Inclusion Week, a week of global conversation on advancing financial inclusion. This year’s theme is keeping clients first in a digital world. Throughout the week participants will share their thoughts in events and webinars, on social media, and through blog posts. Add your voice to the conversation using #FinclusionWeek.
It’s Friday, which means that Financial Inclusion Week 2016 is almost a wrap. We hope you’ve enjoyed all the festivities and happenings as much as we have. But before you sign off for the weekend and close the book on this year’s global week to advance financial inclusion, check out some of the activities from yesterday, day four, as well as the handful of activities that remain. And if you’re on Twitter, be sure to join our final #FinclusionWeek discussions on keeping clients first in fintech!
Financial Sector Deepening Mozambique held an event focused on investment opportunities to boost small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Mozambique. The conversation was fueled by new research from the organization, and served to launch a new publication, Private Equity Investment Opportunities in Mozambican SMEs – Agribusiness Edition. The event brought together a variety of stakeholders to explore the role that private equity can play in empowering agricultural enterprises in Mozambique. Stay tuned for the release of the report.
In the Digital Frontiers Institute’s (DFI) second webinar for Financial Inclusion Week 2016, DFI’s David Porteus and Mackenzie Wallace, formerly of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and currently policy advisor for digital finance at USAID, discussed the emergence of regtech and its ability to amplify the voice of the consumer, highlighting the work of the CFPB.
The CFPB was created in 2011 to provide a single point of accountability for enforcing federal consumer financial laws and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace. During its time the CFPB has handled nearly 1 million complaints from consumers using a distinctive product suite, providing individual assistance to consumers (for example, ensuring they receive a response from companies regarding their complaints within 15 days) and to companies. The CFPB’s public complaint database has become a powerful tool for sharing the best practices of financial service providers and providing incentives for companies to respond to consumers and improve their practices — all while giving consumers the information they need to feel empowered and comfortable in the financial technologies that they use. Additionally, the CFPB has integrated elements of fintech to ensure the consumers’ right to privacy. For example, the CFPB employs AI to automatically scrub-out personally identifiable information [PII] in the complaint database) to ensure the consumers’ right to privacy. Regtech is certainly a global movement that can help us to achieve regulatory and other goals and can be replicated in developing and emerging market contexts.
Good Shephard Microfinance in Australia hosted an annual training and networking event for their microfinance workers from across the state of Queensland. The theme for the training this year was “putting the client first”, and the participants, mostly front-line staff, focused on issues of client protection.
IFMR LEAD hosted an internal roundtable assessing how to keep clients first in their own work. The roundtable focused specifically on evidence-based customer-centricity. Participants examined the draw to informal financial services, exploring the lessons that can be learned from moneylenders and informal financiers. Ultimately the discussions focused on how to empower customers, and step beyond simply including them in the formal financial sector.
In Nepal, Sakchyam Access to Finance Program brought together partner bank staff and their branchless banking agents to discuss how to keep clients at the center of technological initiatives. Participants identified a number of challenges to protecting and empowering clients in their work. These included verifying and keeping clients’ data safe, offering a variety of products and services demanded by clients, effectively training agents and clients to properly understand products, and monitoring agents’ behavior. One key element identified for addressing these challenges is effectively gathering and incorporating client feedback, and therefore an outcome of the roundtable was the decision that client feedback be used to influence the bank agent training program for the 453 branchless banking access points.
European Microfinance Platform – Preventing Client Overindebtedness in Cambodia
Daniel Rozas, a senior microfinance expert at the European Microfinance Platform, offers context on the Cambodian microfinance market and its current client overindebtedness concerns. He outlines the steps being taken to address these concerns, which include MFIs creating a set of lender guidelines that will provide a self-regulatory framework, and enlisting the Credit Bureau of Cambodia (CBC) to ensure that MFI commitments are independently monitored.
Premasis Mukherjee of the International Finance Corporation – Financial Inclusion: What Demand Says to Supply
Premasis Mukherjee examines the financial inclusion supply versus demand debate, and considers the viewpoint that financial inclusion is an agenda to include formal financial services as part of people’s existing financial lives. He offers examples of how formal financial services can be a mismatch for the financial needs of the unbanked and gives three main hurdles that banks and financial services providers must cross.
For more, including the week’s full event list and a curated #FinclusionWeek social media feed, visit the Financial Inclusion Week website.