Posted on January 21, 2009 by Vinay
When I heard that Gautam Ivatury of CGAP would be at NYU’s “From Innovation to Impact” Conference, I thought it would be a great time to follow up with my previous interview with him. While he did not have time to talk today, we are going to schedule a follow up soon. Nevertheless, I was able to listen to his presentation on what CGAP has been doing to help move the market to be more amenable to branchless or mobile banking.
Here are a couple highlights from his talk, but stay tuned for a more in depth interview in the coming weeks.
- The most interesting point raised was the importance of centering the business plan around the potential agents. In essence, branchless banking would operate in the same way people currently refill their cell phones throughout India. A shopkeeper, authorized by a bank or cell phone company to accept withdrawals and deposits, would receive an SMS or some other communication from a customer’s phone and then either accept the deposit or disburse cash. Ivatury emphasized that such models have only been successful when it is designed to ensure that it is profitable and worthwhile for these agents themselves — a point, while obvious, can be easily overlooked by a major player.
- Ivatury also commented on the process of actually “moving the market” — or getting the greater financial community on board and outlined the process as such:
- Research and Information — first find the data that must be presented
- Synthesis — analyze the data in a way that is clear and concise
- Communicate — get mainstream media, like the Economist or Financial Times, to pick it up
- Influence — once major players are aware, bring them together through events to persuade them to adopt it
- Market Changes
Filed under: Finance/Credit, Microfinance, Technology | Tagged: branchless banking, CGAP, Gautam Ivatury | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 24, 2008 by Vinay
In a first of its kind survey, the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) has released a study analyzing the level of financial inclusion currently in India relative to other nations. The results are unimpressive. The paper
ranks India at 29 in a list of 55 countries based on the country’s performance in banking penetration, availability of the banking services, and the usage of the banking system. India’s ranking goes down to 50 (out of 100 countries) if one removes the banking penetration as one of the determinants from the Index. This shows that even though there is a higher banking penetration, there are inefficiencies in making these services available to the financially excluded population. [Source: VC Circle]
We have written to this issue before. Particularly, I interviewed Gautum Ivatury of CGAP, and their efforts in addressing financial inclusion via mobile banking. This study is interesting because it highlights how building a bank is only part of the process. The drop in rankings when controlled for banking penetration emphasizes this need.
Due to this interesting dynamic, there is a definite need for innovative and unconventional methods to reach these otherwise excluded communities. Technological approaches like kiosks and mobile phones are one angle, but I also have an inkling that much of it stems from being uninformed or even skeptical of modern institutions.
Filed under: BoP, Finance/Credit, Research | Tagged: CGAP, financial inclusion, Gautam Ivatury, Research on International Economic Relations, VC Circle | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 16, 2008 by Vinay
Microcapital.org reviewed two recently released papers this week; here is a summary of those.
1. “Should Access to Credit Be a Right?” by Marek Hudon
This is a very interesting question as fields like microfinance have gained so much popularity and success. The paper takes both practical and normative approaches to this issue and frames the overall debate in a way that seems to argue that the framing of credit as a right would significantly contribute to alleviating poverty. The full paper can be found here.
2. Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, Focus Note: The Early Experience with Branchless Banking (On the Potential of Branchless Banking in the Microfinance Sector)
This paper takes information from 18 different countries that employ branchless banking to analyze its effect on both microfinance and poverty generally. The paper highlights the ability of mobile banking to overcome the hurdles that many MFIs face with regard to the lack of well-established banking infrastructures in these countries. The full paper can be found here.
Filed under: Finance/Credit, Microfinance, Research, Technology | Tagged: branchless banking, CGAP, credit, Marek Hudon, Microcapital.org, Microfinance, mobile banking, rights | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 11, 2008 by prernasri
The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) is hosting Vikram Akula, founder and CEO of microfinance institution SKS Microfinance today as part of their informal brown bag series. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the CGAP offices at 202-473-9594 for more information. The CGAP offices are on the third floor of 900 19th Street NW, Washington DC.
Some background on SKS Microfinance and Vikram Akula follows:
Prior to launching SKS, Vikram Akula was a Fulbright Scholar in India, during which time he coordinated a government-funded (Jawahar Rozgar Yojana) action-research project on providing microfinance for food security. He holds an BA from Tufts, an MA from Yale and a PhD from the University of Chicago, where his dissertation focused on poverty alleviation strategies.
Since its launch in 1998, SKS Microfinance has provided over USD 550 million in loans, with loans of USD 223 million currently outstanding to 1,721,155 women members in poor regions of India. Borrowers take loans for a range of income-generating activities, including livestock, agriculture, trade, production and service businesses. SKS also offers interest-free loans for emergencies and life insurance to its members. Its nonprofit wing, SKS Foundation, runs an Ultra Poor Program. SKS currently has 700 microfinance branches in 15 states across India. In 2007, SKS Microfinance claimed nearly 170 percent growth and a 99 percent on-time repayment rate.
Filed under: Approaches, Meetings, Microfinance, Opportunities | Tagged: CGAP, Microfinance, SKS microfinance, Vikram Akula | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 1, 2008 by Santhosh
- Oneworld South Asia highlights that India’s strategy to combat Multi Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) might be failing to stop the spread of the disease. There are 2.2 million new cases of TB every year.
- The CGAP Microfinance Technology Blog picked up a story from Business Standard on Andhra Pradesh government’s plan to provide rural pensions through the mobile phone network
- iGovernment reports that BSNL, the state owned telecom provider, plans to roll-out broadband connectivity to Community Service Centres (CSCs) and other e-Governance locations in 25,000 villages across India
Filed under: Approaches, Government, Health, Issues, Technology | Tagged: Andhra Pradesh, BSNL. Rural Connectivity, Business Standard, CGAP, iGovernment, OneWorld South Asia, TB | Leave a comment »