Financial Inclusion is top priority for dev: BB

Financial inclusion has received policy priority to build strong foundation of financial infrastructure, promoting economic growth, Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Fazle Kabir said. He said, the country need to reduce the economic vulnerability of households, alleviate poverty and improve the quality of peoples’ lives to ensure sustainable economic growth.

He made the statement while attending of Nineteenth Nurul Matin Memorial Lecture on Ethics in Banking, organized by Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) in its auditorium on Sunday night.

As part of financial inclusion initiatives, BB has instructed banks to extend formal banking services to less privileged people in both urban and rural areas, Fazle Kabir said adding that, measures undertaken in this respect like agent and booth banking, mobile banking and school banking, opening No Frill Accounts (NFAs), doing banking for working street children and arranging fairs and creating refinancing schemes have brought a massive unbanked people under banking services. 

In all these efforts your dedication have been stamped proudly, he added.    In his keynote speech, Dr. Atiur Rahman said, Poverty is receding fast, and a number of sustainable development goals are destined to be achieved well ahead of 2030 as was the case with achievement of most of the MDGs.  Bangladesh is now ahead of its higher-income large neighbors on many counts of human and social development indicators including life expectancy, he said.

He said, South Asia's growth projections for up to 2019 indicate that Bangladesh's stable growth rate will be the highest in the region in the coming years - probably among the best global growth performances. He also said, Ethics in banking or for that matter wider canvas of finance is, therefore, a subset of general ethics. Ethics cannot flourish in vacuum. 

It has to relate to values and moral principles used in communities in which a company or enterprise or bank operates, he mentioned.

He added, “If you look at the global experience, ranging from the developing to the advanced economies, finance is all about trust. In the language of economics, it deals with limited information because savers put their trust and money in borrowers when they invest through banks, non-bank, and capital markets. The assessment of financial risks requires special skills that most people, including savers, don't have.” 

BIBM Director General Dr. Md Akhtaruzzaman and Dr Prashanta Kumar Banerjee, Professor and Director (Research, Development & Consultancy) of BIBM also spoke on the occasion.

Members of board of directors of Bangladesh Bank, former governors, deputy governors, senior central bankers, government high officials, BIBM’s chair and supernumerary professors, top executives from different banks, university professors, academicians, faculty members of BIBM, senior bank executives, media representatives, officers of BIBM participated in the nineteenth Nurul Matin Memorial Lecture program.