Partnership brings digital banking for Myanmar credit unions and customers
Bank-Genie, a Singapore-based banking technology company has partnered with Australian not-for-profit organisation, Cufa, to implement innovative digital banking solutions with 23 credit unions and their customers in rural Myanmar. Bank-Genie has enabled this through their product BanqIn, an all-in-one digital banking platform for microfinance institutions, credit unions and thrift banks.
Myanmar is a highly cash-oriented society where the time and cost involved in travelling to deposit typically small amounts of money is an issue for customers. Most of the credit unions operated on a voluntary basis, with unpaid staff, no branches, and with simple savings and loans products until recently as well.
Cufa was established by Australian Credit Unions to support credit unions in the Southeast Asia and Pacific Regions, and has been instrumental in helping communities in the Taikkyi Region of Myanmar to establish new credit unions and strengthen existing facilities.Cufa is committed to ending poverty across the Asia-Pacific. It helps communities build better lives for themselves through grassroots programs that focus on education, empowerment, entrepreneurship and financial institutions. Over 90% of contributions to Cufa go directly into local communities where they are used to build financial institutions like credit unions, giving the most disadvantaged people a safe and affordable place to save their money.
Currently, the credit unions are heavily reliant on manual processes, and span between 3,000 to 4,000 customers. Through their partnership with BanqIn, Cufa will be introducing its DigiCUD programme. The programme will enable credit unions to facilitate loan origination, approvals, disbursements, and deposits digitally.
By implementing BanqIn, all of the customer’s data will be migrated to a single platform, with each credit union set up as a branch. Each branch will have their own savings and loans products, with their own terms and conditions, and the BanqIn platform will bring everything together online, efficiently and securely.
The initial roll-out will involve five credit unions, followed by a network-wide roll out once all implementation, training, testing and evaluation is complete. Cufa’s goal is to eventually introduce the benefits of credit unions to an additional 90 villages in the country.
Cufa CEO, Dr Peter Mason, shared: “BanqIn’s cloud and subscription-based solutions have been designed with relatively small institutions at the forefront of conceptualisation, thereby empowering these credit unions to enable customers to start their own small businesses with ease. And with Cufa project officers teaching the crucial business skills such as financial literacy skills and digital adaptation to credit union staff and members, we intend to arm the Myanmarese with the right tools for success.”
Bank-Genie has successfully rolled-out its products in Ghana (replacing mainly paper-based and spreadsheet systems), in the Philippines (replacing very old DOS-based banking systems), and multiple projects in India (which had been using an old local core system with a decentralised database model), as well as in Kazakhstan and is committed to ending poverty across the Asia-Pacific region through financial inclusion for all.
Aside from improving a bank’s operational efficiencies and processes, BanqIn reduces the costs it takes for a bank to reach a high number of transaction volumes without the traditional banking set up of brick-and-mortar branches. Both Bank-Genie and Cufa believe that with digital onboarding and the ability to do mobile payments, through the implementation of the BanqIn solution, will go a long way to stimulating growth for both customers and the unions themselves.
Ram Sharma, CEO and Co-Founder of Bank-Genie, said: “We are proud to partner Cufa in bringing digital banking to credit unions and their customers in rural Myanmar. Through the BanqIn platform we are committed to removing barriers to financial inclusion and the technology we create will provide affordable access to those who need it the most.We believe finance must be fair to all. With over two-thirds of the population in Myanmar having a mobile phone, just 10% have accessed digital services. There is a fantastic opportunity for BanqIn to be an integral part of the growing nature of the digital infrastructure in Myanmar,” he added.