Bangladesh Bank former Governor Dr. Atiur Rahman

Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Financial sector needs to focus on Fintech i.e. developing ICT-based products and services for the tech-savvy customers, former Governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB) Atiur Rahman has said.

“At the same time, human resources need to be developed accordingly so that it may cater the demand effectively and efficiently,” Dr. Rahman said while presenting a keynote paper on “Finance Sector in New Economy: Empowering the Finance Workers” on Wednesday at the second day of the “5th UNI APRO Commerce and Finance Joint Conference” held in Jakarta.

Dr. Kun WardanaAbyoto, Director of UNI Apro ICTS moderated the session. Panel members for the session were- IppeiOshima from Zenshinren Japan, President of FIEUN Nepal K. C. Ganesh,General Treasurer of SBEU Singapore Bobby Tay and Andrew Lo, CEO of Sarawak Employees Union, according to message.

Technology is pivotal to the ‘New Economy,’ the former BB governor said, adding that ICT is obliterating traditional boundaries and redefining assumptions about business and economy.

“Bangladesh weathered global financial crisis better than many developed countries mainly for its financial inclusion strategy using digital technology,” Dr. Rahman explained.

He also said the country has witnessed phenomenal growth of Fintech startups making best use of ICT and talented pool of young entrepreneurs.

“These Fintech entities have been partnering with conventional financial institutions to take the financial services to the bottom of the societal pyramid .He also added that finance workers now must harness the ICT based solutions to reach these customers and cope with the emerging challenges.”

When discussing the Bangladesh experience regarding digitization of the financial sector, Dr. Rahman inferred that the digitization drive in Bangladesh has been led by banks under the prudent guidance of the central bank of the country.

He also said the central bank in Bangladesh has developed state of the art payment and settlement systems platforms, as well as an enabling legal and regulatory framework.

He pointed out that the early rewarding outcomes of this drive are already visible. Number of MFS clients has reached over 40 million in just 6 years and has reached virtually all population segments including those in far flung remote locations.

Similarly Agent Banking in Bangladesh is flourishing (almost 1 million accounts) as banks have accepted it as a cost saving approach to reach the unbanked. Bangladesh Bank is also working on ensuring ‘Interoperability’ of the DFS providers which will further improve the service delivery mechanism.

About human resource development for the finance industry in the ‘new economy’, Dr. Rahman pointed out that human capital development requires wider collaboration among industry, academia, professional bodies and regulators.

He also argued for human capital to be humane focusing on better services to the un-served and underserved.
This requires a change in mindset of the bankers, he noted.

Industry can work with universities and training centers to prepare graduates while the Central Bank can be mid-wife to bridge the gaps between the industry and academia. “Let’s continue this journey, not alone but as a caravan.”