Sarathi and Bank Asia Limited collaborate to promote micro-savings among RMG workers

Upskilling and Reskilling
Both organisations will jointly support RMG workers and their community members to improve their financial health through easy access to small-ticket-sized and women-friendly savings products.
Mr. Ziaul Hasan, Deputy Managing Director of Bank Asia Limited, and Ms. Bipasha S. Hossain, Team Leader, Sarathi-Improving Financial Health, Swisscontact, signed the MoU at the Bank Asia Limited’s corporate office in Karwan Bazar in the presence of other dignitaries of Bank Asia Limited and Swisscontact.

On 10 August 2023, Bank Asia Limited and the ‘Sarathi-Improving Financial Health’ project of Swisscontact signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to offer formal savings products to 12 000 RMG workers and community members in Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj, and Chattogram. Through this partnership, Bank Asia Limited will introduce, promote, and create access to customised and women-friendly savings products through various awareness campaigns and incentives.

According to a baseline survey conducted by Sarathi in 2021, a staggering 88% of RMG workers have no savings, while the remaining 12% save informally. With the current rising costs of living, initiatives such as these have significant potential for RMG workers to benefit from formal financial savings schemes. This collaboration between Swisscontact and Bank Asia Limited can potentially empower RMG workers and their community members with access to interconnected financial health solutions, ultimately increasing their income in more secure ways.

Mr. Shafiuzzaman, President & Managing Director (CC) of Bank Asia Limited, Mr. Md. Sazzad Hossain, DMD & COO, Mr. Md. Serajul Islam, EVP, Mr. Quazi Mortuza Ali, SVP, and Ms. Rumana A Tulee, AVP, Agent Banking division of the bank; Ms. Salma Akhter, Manager-Partnerships & Advocacy, and Mr. Mostafezur Rahaman, Manager-Interventions of the Sarathi project; and other representatives from both organisations were also present during the ceremony.

‘Sarathi – Improving Financial Health’ is financed by the MetLife Foundation and the Happel Foundation. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA.

Upskilling and Reskilling
Sarathi – Progress Through Improved Financial Health
Bangladesh is the world’s second largest garment exporter, with the ready-made garment (RMG) sector accounting for over 83% of the country’s exports and contributing approximately 16% to the GDP. This industry encompasses more than 4 000 RMG factories and provides employment to approximately 4.2 million workers of which almost 60% are women. Even though the RMG sector plays a pivotal role in Bangladesh’s economy, only 34% of it was integrated into the formal financial system when Swisscontact started to work towards the financial inclusion of RMG workers and their community members in 2016.