Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Women take to agent banking, accounts nearly equal male customers

Lending via agent banking on the rise

Update : 26 May 2024, 07:00 PM

According to Bangladesh Bank data, the number of accounts opened through agent banking reached 22,250,305 in March, out of which 11,060,879 accounts (49.71%) belong to female customers, and the rest belong to male.

This indicates that more female customers are coming forward to opening accounts and getting almost equal access to the financial services through agent banking compared to male customers, the central bank report also said.

In addition, 19,145,672 accounts (86.05%) belong to customers in the rural areas.

Meanwhile, loan disbursements through agent banking surged by 41.27% against 16.52% growth in deposit collection in January-March of 2024 compared with those in the same period in the previous year.

According to Bangladesh Bank data, deposits’ balance in agent banking outlets increased by Tk5,228 crore to Tk36,870 crore in January-March in 2024 against Tk31,641 crore in the same period in 2023.

It was Tk36,358 crore in the October-December period.

Loan disbursements through agent banking shot up to Tk16,482 crore in January-March period in 2024 compared with that of Tk11,667 crore in January-March in 2023.

It was Tk15,407 crore in December 2023.

The volume of lending in the agent banking accounts and volume of deposits through these accounts rose by 6.98% and 1.41% respectively from the previous quarter.

Since access to finance is one of the key challenges of financial inclusion, lending through agent banking is explicitly beneficial for rural customers in developing countries, Bangladesh Bank said in its quarterly report.

As of March 2024, rural customers received Tk10,679 crore (64.79%) of the total loan disbursed through agent banking channel, which was very much in line with the objective of the agent banking to enhance the rural people’s access to finance.

The highest number of accounts and the highest amount of balance were in the form of savings.

Remittance collection through agents also increased in the reporting month.

As of March 2024, Tk149,916 crore remittance was disbursed through agent banking.

The Bangladesh Bank introduced agent banking in 2013.

Compared with the traditional banking system, it is a less costly system where customers are able to receive various banking services on a real-time basis from the platform through an agent.

At present, 31 banks are operating agent banking activities in Bangladesh. Of them, the top five banks registered more than 73% of the total outlets.

As of March 2024, the total number of agents and outlets were 15,835 and 21,613 respectively.

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