> Posted by Center Staff

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Screenshot from VisionFund International’s webinar (click to watch)

This post is part of Financial Inclusion Week, a week of global conversation on advancing financial inclusion. This year’s theme is keeping clients first in a digital world. Throughout the week participants will share their thoughts in events and webinars, on social media, and through blog posts. Add your voice to the conversation using #FinclusionWeek.

On day three of Financial Inclusion Week 2016 we were excited to see conversations happen around the world, including in Rwanda, Bangladesh, and Australia. We offer a rundown of these events and the vibrant online conversation below.

The week is nearing a close but there are still plenty of upcoming events and ways to get involved. Be sure to share your thoughts on Twitter with #FinclusionWeek, join tomorrow’s webinar with Innovations for Poverty Action, or submit a client quote and photo to our collection of client insights.

What’s Happening

VisionFund International hosted a webinar (two webinars, in fact, to accommodate for different timezones) focused on the future of digital financial services. The webinar centered on how VisionFund is using technology to lend to smallholder farmers at the right level, and at the right time. During the webinar, Tom Allen and Justin McAuley, Director of Change and Programs and Director of Global Digital Architecture at VisionFund, highlighted a new application they developed which uses available geographic and market data to better extend their products to smallholder farmers and manage risk. You can watch the full webinar here.

“Currently there is no national definition of ‘financial inclusion’ and ‘digital financial services’ in Bangladesh but we are now actively working to promote banking services for all” – Md. Ashraful Alam, Deputy General Manager, Financial Inclusion Department, Bangladesh Bank

In Bangladesh, USAID’s mSTAR project implemented by FHI360 hosted an interactive workshop entitled “Increasing the Uptake of Formal Financial Services through a Client-Centric Approach.” More than 35 representatives from the Central Bank, donor organizations, development organizations, digital financial services providers, banks, and insurance companies participated in the event. The workshop began with a session focused on assessing the current status of financial inclusion in Bangladesh. Participants then moved on to discuss scenarios reflecting existing barriers to accessing formal financial services in the market, including both social and economic obstacles. Finally, participants worked together to explore actions that could be taken by all stakeholders to extend full access. You can read more about this event in The Financial Express (a prominent Bangladeshi news outlet).

In Kigali, Rwanda, the Smart Campaign hosted a workshop focused on responsible mobile credit. During the workshop, participants assessed the most pressing consumer risks in mobile credit, with a specific focus on the risks presented by nano-loans. Participants advised that while these burgeoning nano-loans are small, they should not be disbursed carelessly and effective ways to protect clients on a regulatory and provider level should be explored.

Online Conversation

Orb Media held an open Twitter conversation yesterday featuring panelists from Grameen Foundation, Bankable Frontier Associates, Orb Media, and CFI. The conversation focused on a number of questions regarding the world’s 2 billion unbanked individuals, the risks and opportunities associated with extending digital financial products to these populations, and the biggest challenges to advancing financial inclusion. Panelists focused on the need for the right tools at the right time for clients, proper regulatory instruments, and provider engagement as a means to empower clients and to lessen industry-level risks such as overindebtedness. You can read the conversation here on Orb Media’s Twitter profile.

BRAC – Keeping Clients First Through Digital Microfinance

BRAC shared a new video demonstrating how digitization has helped them keep their clients first in their microfinance work. The video illustrates the benefits of digital and how it’s integrated with their services and operations – including through their Smart Collection app, which helps field officers process savings and installments via tablet-based Android devices.

UK Financial Inclusion Commission – Financial Inclusion: Does It Matter for Employers?

A blog post from the UK Financial Inclusion Commission spotlights how financial stress can greatly affect workplace productivity, and the unique position that employers are in to help mitigate or eliminate this, including by improving access to affordable credit like payroll loans.

For more, including the week’s full event list and a curated #FinclusionWeek social media feed, visit the Financial Inclusion Week website.