Fixing the Ecosystem: BC certification, Gender sensitization & more!
The availability of well trained and low-cost Business Correspondents (BCs) lies at the core of India’s financial inclusion objectives. However, the fact that the overwhelming majority of BCs currently operating in the country are not compliant with RBI’s certification mandate is proof that the current system needs a relook. Our latest ICFI White Paper, “Certification or Inclusion: The Challenge Facing India’s Business Correspondents”, deep dives into the problem. It supports the recommendation for graded certification made by the RBI Committee for Medium-term Path for Financial Inclusion. But it goes further and calls for letting BCNMs and Banks provide basic training and certification required for the lowest tier of agents who perform basic services, with the higher rungs being provided superior training and certification. We believe this is an opportunity for the Working Group set up by the DFS to work with the RBI and IIBF, put together official data regarding the variety of services being offered by BCs on the ground and re-examine the appropriateness of the current certification mandate and framework.
The International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8th and this is a good time to once again flag the lack of gender-disaggregated data in India on financial inclusion. While we wait for the RBI to get its act together and deliver, CGAP has an excellent toolkit out on the analysis of regulatory reports, showcasing an example from Mexico where the pensions regulator used disaggregated data to create specific products for women.
Another scam came to light last month when people found their PAN cards used fraudulently for small ticket loans through the mobile app from Dhani Loans –Vishwanath Nair put the onus on flawed processes.Sucheta Dalal has recommended that a) RBI mandate the use of verified e-KYC through the Central Registry of Securitisation Asset Reconstruction and Security Interest of India, to reduce frauds and b) credit bureaus should send real time alerts to customers about changes in their credit score.
Mary Katica and Shalu Umapathy from IDEO.org document the life stages that have a significant impact on women’s economic empowerment and usage of financial services, based on quantitative analysis from Kenya, India and Nigeria.