Sarathi – Progress through Financial Inclusion is a 30-month project (Jan 2018-Jun 2020), jointly funded by MetLife Foundation and Swisscontact. It is working with commercial banks and Ready-Made Garments (RMG) factories in Bangladesh to bring RMG workers, especially women, within the sphere of formal banking services and to enable them 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 inadequate commercially viable business solutions for banks to cater to their needs.
Under this partnership agreement, Sarathi will work with SEBL to digitize the payroll system in RMG factories. Workers in these factories will have a total of two accounts, one mobile account and one current and savings account (CASA). They will receive salary through a formal account for the first time in their lives. The salary will be received through their mobile wallet, from which they can transfer to their CASA account, to keep in the form of savings or a current balance. They will have an array of alternate delivery channels such as mobile wallets, agent banking, nearby branches and ATMs. through cost-effective alternative delivery channels such as ATMs, agent banking, etc. SEBL aims to combine all possible access points for better coverage and to ensure that no single access point suffers from an overcrowding effect. Additionally, SEBL will design new savings instruments to incentivise workers to partake in some form of formal savings. Sarathi’s financial literacy trainings and counselling services will complement the work of SEBL at these RMG factories.
Mr. Syed Faisal Omar, Senior Executive Vice President and Head of International Division, SEBL and Ms. Syeda Ishrat Fatema, Team Leader, Sarathi- Progress through Financial Inclusion, Swisscontact Bangladesh signed the MOU on behalf of their respective organizations. From SEBL, Mr. A.K.M. Monirul Islam, Senior Vice President; Mr. Md. Mushfiqur Rahman, Senior Assistant Vice President; Mr. Riad Hashim, Assistant Vice President and Mr. Rashadul Islam, Assistant Vice President were present during the signing. Mr. M Kamal Hossain, Managing Director, SEBL also provided the ceremony with his valuable presence. From the project, Mr. Tamjid Ahmed, Intervention Manager and Ms. Salma Akhter, Project Coordinator- Partnerships and Advocacy were also present at the ceremony.