Grameen Bank Joins Hands To Bank A Billion
Move aside M-Pesa, we have a new winner. US-based P2P payment and remittance service provider Obopay and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh have just announced ‘The Grameen-Obopay Bank A Billion Initiative‘ to use mobile technology to deliver banking services to a billion of the world’s poorest people by 2018. Until now, the poorer sections of many societies have been denied basic financial services because they are physically inaccessible or far too expensive to be practical. This initiative will provide affordable financial services, including cross-border remittances, money transfer, payments, savings and credit accounts. By empowering life and work endeavors with mobile technology that are ubiquitous even in the most impoverished and remote corners of the world, Bank a Billion aims to bring the ‘full power of banking’ to those who need it most. Working initially in Mumbai, India and Bangladesh, the initiative will begin delivering services in October 2008. In a country like India, where mobile phone usage is widespread, this may well be a turning point for rural banking. One more factor that should work for the initiative is that in rural areas, money lenders charge inhuman interest rates, often without any proof or documentation. This added to the prevalent illiteracy lets moneylenders take advantage of their customers. With a structured bank system, these woes will be cast away.