Bangladesh Bank, the central bank of the country, approved the license for the RMG Digital Banking Booth delivery channel in August 2018. This delivery channel model is similar to a mini branch, equipped with ATM machines and a vault. It will also consist of a customer services desk staffed by full-time bank officers who will provide support and information to RMG workers regarding banking products and services. All core banking services, such as cash deposit, account opening, application forms for savings (Deposit Premium Scheme and Fixed Deposit Receipt) and loan products, and cash withdrawal and remittance will be offered and processed through the booth. Aside from foreign currency, the booth will allow RMG workers to avail all banking services through the dedicated delivery channel within their factory premises.
Sarathi is working with commercial banks and RMG factories to bring RMG workers, especially women, within the sphere of formal banking services. Through wage digitization, the project empowers RMG workers to conduct financial transactions as account holders and clients. The project activities are directed to find market-based and scalable solutions that address underlying constraints such as inadequate financial literacy; lack of access to formal banking services; and commercially viable business solutions for commercial banks to cater to the needs of the RMG workers. At Echotex Limited, Sarathi and Bank Asia have opened approximately 8,756 accounts till November 2018, with salary disbursement of approximately BDT 64.7 million through bank accounts already underway.
Mr. Rumee A Hossain, Chairman, Bank Asia Board Executive Committee, Bank Asia Limited was present as a special guest and inaugurated the booth. Mr. Md Nasir Uddin, Director, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Mr. Md Arfan Ali, President and Managing Director, Bank Asia Limited were also present as special guests at the event. Mr. Mohammad Bin Kashem, Director, Echotex Limited presided over the event. Mr. Kazi Mahfuz Mamtazur Rahman, Team Leader, Sarathi delivered a short speech on Sarathi’s experience of collaborating with Bank Asia Limited and Echotex Limited. He also illustrated the impact Sarathi aims to create on the financial inclusion of RMG workers through this new delivery channel.
Sarathi- Progress through Financial Inclusion is a 30-month (January 2018- June 2020) financial inclusion project, jointly funded by MetLife Foundation and Swisscontact.