Move to launch e-KYC soon for reaching out to unbanked

FE Report | Published: October 21, 2018 10:35:20 | Updated: October 22, 2018 12:21:08


A move is underway to introduce electronic KYC (know your client) soon as part of reaching out to the unbanked and excluded low income segment.

The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), Bangladesh Bank (BB) in collaboration with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) organised a workshop on the issue at a city hotel on Saturday.

Private sector financial service providers attended the workshop where they urged the regulator to start the e-KYC quickly, which they said will help make their administrative and information management process efficient.

They said that technical challenges regarding platform design and integration should be carefully addressed, ensuring protection of customers' data and privacy risks are mitigated through appropriate legal framework.

They also said this will help lower costs of reaching out to grassroots customers, garment workers, beneficiaries of social safety nets, pensioners, farmers, char people and so on.

People familiar with the matter at the central bank told the FE this will quicken the process of opening bank accounts and simplify mobile banking facility, especially for those who lack documents.

As part of implementing the new system, the central bank will launch a pilot project on the matter on some 1,000 people before issuing guidelines for that.

Nine banks-Sonali Bank, Agrani Bank, Janata Bank, Rupali Bank, Islami Bank, Bank Asia, Mercantile Bank, NRB Commercial Bank and United Commercial Bank will participate in the piloting.

Besides, mobile financial institutions, Bkash and ROCKET will also be involved in piloting.

"We've talked with the Election Commission to have access to the NIDs (national identity cards), and they responded positively," said a central bank official.

He also said once they get access to the NIDs for verifying customers' data instantly, then the potential clients will get banking services quickly.

The UNCDF organised the workshop to share knowledge of study tours of a two-member delegation to Thailand and Malaysia.

The representatives of Bangladesh Bank and a private commercial bank visited Central Bank of Thailand and Bank Negara Malaysia to explore how these countries implemented e-KYC.

The delegations consulted with central bank counterparts, fintech companies, banks and other financial institutions during the visits.

The piloting will start in early 2019 and the final eKYC guidelines are expected to be published in the later part of 2019.

Md Abdur Rahim, executive director of Bangladesh Bank (BB), attended the function as the chief guest while Zakir Hossain, general manager and operational head at the BFIU and Md. Abul Bashar, general manager at the financial inclusion department also attended it.

jaimharoon@yahoo.com

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