The poor and unbanked can take their rightful place as consumers of financial services only if the Modi government encourages different entities to advance the financial inclusion agenda.
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At Grameen Foundation, our goal is to spur innovation in the global movement to eliminate extreme poverty. Part of that work is to develop better solutions and share them with people like you.
On GF Insights, we share lessons learned from our leaders in the field, news about efforts to expand access to financial and information services for the poor, and how poverty-focused organizations are using data to improve the way they work.
In recent announcements, the government of India has unveiled ambitious financial inclusion plans of which the Business Correspondent (BC) model is a key piece. Over the next several weeks, Grameen Foundation India (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Grameen Foundation) will post a series of blogs that discuss this model and how to make it work for promoting financial inclusion in India.
With the recent circular by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), allowing non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) that do not accept deposits to be authorized as business correspondents (BC), there is no doubt that NBFC-MFIs1 stand to gain a lot. It would be prudent for such microfinance institutions (MFIs) to consider this opportunity seriously and explore a partnership with a reputed bank.
My bottom-line framing of this entire issue is related to a basic question: why we do this kind of social science research at all? In my mind, we do it for one reason: in combating societal problems such as poverty, we want to do more of what works well, and less of what doesn’t work, or works less well. Period. If research contributes to that, I will call it successful and effective. If not does not, I will call it a failure – no matter how elegant the research design or how smart the investigators. This is my take on the design principle of “relevance” which we have been discussing today.
It’s made its way into the hands of the farmer and the tailor and the day labourer who is as comfortable using it as the high-powered CEO. From Los Angeles to Kampala, the mobile phone has become ubiquitous, bridging class divides, gender differences, generational gaps and territorial boundaries. And in sub Saharan Africa, it has gone further than any piece of modern technology in becoming something rural people use daily. It’s no wonder that the mobile phone is generally viewed as one of the keys to reaching people who previously weren’t accessible because of various infrastructural constraints.
As part of our AppLab Money India initiative, Grameen Foundation is collaborating with ThinkPlace to design a new suite of loan products for clients of Grameen Koota, a microfinance institution in Bangalore. In this blog, which first ran on ThinkPlace's website, Mark Thompson shares his insights on working with the women Grameen Koota serves.
Sometimes you come across a project that not only makes you want to drop everything and start working on it straight away, but changes your life as well.
We work on a lot of great projects at ThinkPlace, but my most recent project was eye opening, challenging and rewarding all at once.
The journey started with a lot of pre project research, but this story began with a flight to India.
ThinkPlace partnered with Grameen Foundation to look at a product suite for income generating loans for their client Grameen Koota, a Micro Finance Institution (MFI).