April 23, 2024, 10:48 am

MetLife Foundation and MicroSave Consulting host the i3 Global Learning Event on

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Update : Thursday, May 18, 2023

“Innovation in financial products to enhance people’s resilience”
Staff Reporter Dhaka : MetLife Foundation and MSC (MicroSave Consulting) along with its partner UNCDF hosted the i3 (innovate, implement, impact) global learning event on “Innovation in financial products to enhance people’s resilience” in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 17th May, 2023. The learning event also explored practical lessons around financial resilience and security in four markets: Malaysia, China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. The event intended to help steer a shift in approach from financial inclusion to financial health with a focus on innovative products among practitioners, providers, donors, and regulators.

The event offered participants representing regulators, government officials, practitioners, and think tanks key insights, and some of the major outcomes of the event are: the i3 program’s impact in increasing awareness and helping improve financial health; lessons from the ecosystem to innovate, evolve, and build the financial resilience of LMI segments; and identification of critical areas that need more focus now beyond access, which will be the next focus for the industry, such as digital credit, insurance, transformation, protection, and privacy. Through i3 program partners such as aspire to innovate (a2i), Shakti Foundation, Women & e-Commerce Ltd, and leading MFS providers among others, the program could make an impact over 12.8 million clients in Bangladesh itself and over 43 million low-income individuals indirectly.

More than 80 industry experts attended this international event with participants from Malaysia and Vietnam. Mr. Md. Mezbaul Haque, Hon’ble Executive Director, Bangladesh Bank, graced this occasion as the Chief Guest. Other special guests included Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, a2i, Mr. Ala Ahmad, CEO, MetLife Bangladesh, Mr. Selim R F Hussain, MD & CEO, BRAC Bank, Ms. Nasima Aktar Nisha, President WE, and Joint Secretary, e-Cab, Mr. Viet Linh Vuong, CEO and Founder, VIFO and Ms. Mandy Nguyen, Startup Vietnam Foundation. Mr. Anil K Gupta, Partner MSC, moderated a panel discussion with an esteemed group of industry experts comprising and Shah Zia-Ul Haque, Assistant Director, Bangladesh Bank, Imran Ahmed of Shakti Foundation, Minh Trang Tran of WISE Vietnam, Nadia Ismadi of POD Malaysia and Imanun Nabi Khan of FAO Bangladesh.

The panel deliberated what innovations are required in the financial sector to enhance people’s financial health and what are the biggest lessons from the pandemic, and how do we build for a more resilient future.

Speaking at the event, Md. Mezbaul Haque, Hon’ble Executive Director, Bangladesh Bank said, “We have found that we have more SIM users than bank account holders, so we started thinking if we can make some kind of matchmaking between these two and the idea of mobile financial services came. We see within no time how MFS has hit the momentum. We also have NGO/MFI for a long period of time. At this period of time, access to payment was made.”

Ala Ahmad, CEO, MetLife Bangladesh commented,” MetLife Foundation sponsored projects in Bangladesh are advancing economic inclusion, financial health, and resilient communities. Sustainability is central to our business strategy, and we are committed towards the betterment of the economy, and the people of Bangladesh.”

While presenting the findings gathered by MSC under the i3 program, Sunil Bhat, Associate Partner, MSC, said: “LMI of Bangladesh and Vietnam need customer centric, low-cost financial solutions. Through i3 program MetLife, MSC and program partners like a2i, bKAsh, BRAC Bank, Bank Asia, Dmoney, iPay, WE in Bangladesh and MoMo , Careplus, VIFO, and SVF in Vietnam have leveraged digital channels and technology to make cost effective solutions.”

The dialogue surrounding financial inclusion has intensified over the last decade. With the focus now on financial health, key stakeholders have started to explore how best to engage prospective customers in ways that meet the needs of both customer service providers and the industry itself.

About MetLife Foundation
At MetLife Foundation, we are committed to expanding opportunities for low- and moderate-income people around the world. We partner with nonprofit organizations and social enterprises to create financial health solutions and build stronger communities, while engaging MetLife employee volunteers to help drive impact. Our financial health work has reached more than 17.3 million low- and moderate-income individuals in 42 countries. Learn more at MetLife Foundation.

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