Bangladesh Post Office is embracing the digital financial space
The Bangladesh Post Office (BPO) conveys a long-standing history of 150 years, serving people with postal and money transfer services, and is also known as the first financial institution in the sub-continent.
Shadhin Bangladesh Post Office (named Bangladesh Post Office afterwards) inaugurated their first branch on December 20, 1971 with five postal circles, two life insurance services, and one postal academy. Since then, the BPO has taken many initiatives to modernize its services to keep up with the changing times.
BPO is not only about delivering documents and letters -- the wide range of services are segmented in two parts -- the postal services segment and the financial services. With these various services, BPO strives for the improvement of the standard of living for the people of the nation.
BPO’s financial services aim to connect the financial and non-financial people of the nation to ensure proper financial inclusion. Introducing Nagad is an outcome of that relentless effort. Nagad is a digital financial service regulated by BPO to facilitate customers’ daily financial needs through various digital service channels.
It’s an innovative extension and expansion of the traditional financial services provided by both public and private sector in the nation.
Digital financial services (DFS) refers to the broad range of financial services accessed and delivered through digital channels, including payments, savings, remittances, and insurance. In this context, the term “digital channels” refers to the internet, mobile phones, ATMs, POS terminals, NFC-enabled devices, chips, electronically enabled cards, biometric devices, tablets, phablets, and any other digital systems.
DFS models usually employ agents and the networks of other third-party intermediaries to improve accessibility and lower the overall service delivery cost. Evidently, Nagad is not a mobile financial service. Mobile phones are merely a part of the DFS.
Clarified and precise laws empower BPO to have full regulatory authority over Nagad and its services. The Savings Bank Act of 1873, Post Office Act of 1898, and Bangladesh Law of 1973 clearly authorizes BPO to conduct payments, savings, remittances, and insurances. Along with that, according to Bangladesh Gazette of January 28, 2010, BPO can modify, rearrange, or adopt new technologies, and provide new services securing speedy services to the people as it deems fit.
Furthermore, BPO is authorized to provide remittance transfer services, banking services, postal life insurance services either individually, or may enter into contract with other organizations for the people it serves.
Bangladesh Post Office has already initiated a committee which oversees the money laundering issues. The committee is currently working on the training, documentation, reporting, and awareness regarding money laundering.
The registration process will be verified through the connection with the Election Commission database. To cap it all, we have already initiated a support wing of the law enforcement agencies consisting of experienced government officers.
The Bangladesh Post Office has a widespread network of 9,886 offices with more than 40,000 employees working. Along with that, Nagad has added over 8,500 post e-centres, and is also in the process of creating about 200,000 initiators who will create the platform of SMEs in the country.
For over 100 years, BPO has strived for consistency in service quality and maintaining a skilled work force. Such gargantuan infrastructure, robust logistics, and effective strategic approach have achieved full customer reliability. Through innovation, affordability, and efficiency, BPO continues to find better ways of customer convenience, and that synergy is in sync with the Digital Bangladesh mandate of the government.
Sushanta Kumar Mandal is Director General, Bangladesh Post Office.