While Bangladesh Bank says NO to ‘MFS for Telcos’, State Minister of Post and Telecommunication thinks otherwise
Bangladesh Bank, the banking regulator of the country, has reiterated its stance against awarding mobile banking license to telcos. The Governor of BB, Fazle Kabir said, “it is easy to finance terrorism through Mobile banking, but Bangladesh Bank rigorously monitors banks which leave little scope for terror financing. On the other hand, it would be difficult to monitor Telcos in this way. That is why BB won’t award Mobile Banking license to Telecom operators.
The comment came in a roundtable meeting titled “SAARC Finance: Impacts of Mobile Banking Financial Services in the region” on December 20, 2016. The governor observed that different Mobile Financial Services (MFS) models are being used in SAARC region, but Bangladesh is only following one single model of providing MFS via banks.
Justifying his stance, the governor said Telcos are controlled by BTRC, while banks are under the net of BB. and it would be difficult to ensure a sync between these two agencies.
Despite BB’s such stance of opening MFS to Telcos, other stakeholders of the government are thinking differently. State Minister of Post and Telecommunication Tarana Halim urged the authority to open MFS to Telcos. Her comment came from another roundtable titled “financial inclusion in Bangladesh: opportunities, challenges and way forward through digital financial services” organized by Telecom Reporters’ Network, Bangladesh (TRNB).
The minister, at that roundtable, pointed to ensuring security and effectiveness of MFS and called for collaboration between BB and BTRC so that MFS brings maximum fruit to its user.
At present, around BDT 6897.50 million is transacted via MFS daily. There are 0.671 million agents around the country engaged in providing MFS services to customers. Out of 57 scheduled banks, 20 banks have the license to provide MFS and 18 are actively providing the service.
Telcos have explicitly expressed their desire to get MFS license different times. AJ Hanna, chief mobile financial services officer of VimpelCom — the parent company of Banglalink, expressed their keen desire to get MFS license while visiting Dhaka this March. Telenor Group, the parent company of Grameenphone has also expressed the same. GP, in a recent move, has launched GPay, a utility that partially helps people make payments for different services.