Accès aux services financiers pour les travailleurs dans le textile – “Sarathi” (angl.)

Bangladesh’s Ready-Made Garments (RMG) sector contributes 11.2% to the gross domestic product of the country and employs over four million workers. Bangladesh remains highly dependent on this sector for employment and foreign reserve. It is estimated that 75% of the factories still pay their workers in cash. Notable losses are incurred at these factories each year through this inefficient and opaque means of disbursement. Sarathi has observed that wage digitization helps RMG factories achieve improved efficiency through reduced transaction costs, higher productivity through faster transactions, and more transparent business management while promoting financial inclusion of RMG workers. RMG workers, despite their numbers, generally remain outside the purview of formal financial services, and Sarathi helps facilitate these services for this segment by working with partner commercial banks and RMG factories.
District Dhaka
District Gazipur 
Narayanganj District
Tangail District
Chittagong District
Durée du projet
2016 - 2021

Le projet

Sarathi- Progress through Financial Inclusion is a 36-month (January 2018- December 2020) financial inclusion project, jointly funded by MetLife Foundation and Swisscontact, and is working with commercial banks and Ready-Made Garments (RMG) factories to bring RMG workers, especially women, within the sphere of formal banking services. Women workers constitute over 60% of the RMG workforce and are the backbone of the RMG industry.

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.

The project

  • engages with international RMG buyers to encourage wage digitization in their supplier RMG factories and increase interaction with these key stakeholders through programs such as ‘Model Factory Visit’;
  • facilitates its partner commercial banks in developing Alternate Distribution Channels (agent outlets, ATM booths, biometric devices, RMG Digital Banking Booth, etc.) in strategic locations in and around RMG factories to ensure sustainable access to financial services for RMG workers;
  • facilitates the promotion of financial products and services (salary accounts, savings schemes, DPS, etc), designed specifically for RMG workers, through structured financial counselling, financial literacy training, practical demonstration sessions, and awareness campaigns;
  • facilitates its partner commercial banks in developing appropriate loan products and bundle offers that complement the financial products and services offered to the RMG workers.

Project Goals

The project targets are to:

  • Open the bank accounts of 60,000 RMG workers;
  • Conduct wage digitization through at least three commercial banks ;
  • Reach 200,000 people through financial literacy trainings and awareness campaigns;
  • Facilitate 15 RMG factories to disburse  the wage of their RMG workers through Sarathi’s partner commercial banks;
  • Set up 40 Alternate Delivery Channels such as agents, ATM booths, etc. to increase accessibility to financial transactions for RMG workers.
  • Assist Sarathi partner commercial banks to offer 20,000 value propositions to RMG workers.

Partenaire du projet

  • Bank Asia Limited
  • The City Bank Limited
  • Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited
  • Southeast Bank Limited
  • 49 RMG factories


The project results:

  • 76,000 RMG worker salary accounts have been opened through four partner commercial banks.
  • Sarathi has organized 242 literacy sessions for 17,850 RMG workers.
  • 49 partner RMG factories disburse RMG workers salary through bank accounts.
  • 113 Alternative Delivery Channels were made accessible to RMG workers.
  • More than 3,500 RMG workers use the digital payment system to buy their daily needs.
  • More than 1,700 Digital Health Solutions have been availed by RMG workers
  • Wage subsidies for 400 RMG workers facilitated to retain their jobs during the pandemic.

Financing partners

This project is financed by MetLife Foundation. As part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, it is co-financed by SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA).