Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor SK Sur Chowdhury has said the central bank will not allow mobile operator-led mobile financial service (MFS).
"We will not allow any mobile operator-led model except bank-led model," Sur said at a roundtable held at a city hotel on Tuesday.
United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Bangladesh organised the roundtable titled "Role of Digital Financial Services in promoting inclusive growth: challenges and opportunities".
At present, mobile financial services are being run by commercial banks. Mobile operators have long sought to run the MFS but the banks were always opposed to the idea.
According to the Regulatory Guidelines for Mobile Financial Services in Bangladesh, the MFS platforms will be sponsored and led only by commercial banks.
The deputy governor said the central bank in recent years has taken several initiatives to promote Digital Financial Services (DFS).
“Bangladesh Bank and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission are working together to boost up this kinds of services,” he said, adding that DFS brought new opportunity.
He said income gap was narrowing due to mobile financial services.
Dr Mustafa K Mujeri, executive director of Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), presented the keynote paper at the programme.
Mujeri emphasised on creating a well-functioning and satisfactory digital financial service framework.
He urged the authorities concern to set a well-articulated vision of DFS and undertake a comprehensive review of MFS guidelines and agency banking guidelines.
He also suggested developing a risk management framework aligned to global industry standards and promoting innovation as well as managing risks.
Kamal Quadir, chief executive officer of bKash, said they were struggling and looking for solutions to the problem they are facing in digital financial services.
Abul Kashem Mohammed Shirin, managing director of Dutch Bangla Bank Limited, said: “Main barrier in digital financial service is getting the link. Several different banks were trying to get connectivity from MNOs but failed to get that.”
According to UNCDF, more than 50 percent people in Bangladesh do not have access to financial services.
Within this context, UNDCF aims to work with Bangladesh government and other industry, regulatory and client level national counterparts to bring sustainable changes in the market.