Branchless Banking Points in quake-hit districts

Kathmandu, October 5

A total of 173 Branchless Banking (BLB) Points will be opened in 14 districts affected by the massive Gorkha earthquake through UKaid Sakchyam Commercial Bank Partnerships which include participation of seven commercial banks.

British Department of International Development-led ‘Sakchyam Access to Finance Programme’ has partners in Citizens Bank, Global IME Bank, Nepal Investment Bank Ltd, NMB Bank, Rastriya Banijya Bank, Sanima Bank and Siddhartha Bank which will roll out the opening of the branchless services in the quake-stricken districts.

Nepal Rastra Bank Governor Chiranjibi Nepal presided over the signing ceremony for the new venture during which the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the partner banks signed the commitment paper for establishment of BLBs.

The banks have already setup 55 BLB points with the remaining to be established by the end of November this year. The launch of these crucial financial services comes in the wake of pressure mounting over financial sector to provide quick access to financial services in far flung areas of the 14 districts.

Governor Nepal said the ramification of the branchless banking services in the country would help make financial sectors inclusive.

“In line with its monetary policy, NRB is moving aggressively to expand BLBs through the country,” Governor Nepal said adding, “Partnerships such as the ones forged by Sakchyam are critical to NRBs strategy.”

“We are committed to working with our banks and the government to provide a sustainable basis for expanding our goals of financial inclusion and expediting G2P payments in an efficient manner,” he said.

Deputy Governor Maha Prasad Lamichane said 60 per cent of the population continued to remain outside the periphery of banking access.

Sakchyam Team leader Baljit Vohra said Sakchyam was supporting 286 BLB openings in the mid and far-west and in quake hit districts. “This transformational BLB strategy includes the use of Point of Sale (POS) machines, mobile phones and tablets enabled through agents, extensions counter and physical branches to roll out micro banking products, G2P payments and value chain financing models that will further deepen financial service penetration for households and enterprises in the remotest areas of the country,” Vohra said.