Staff Correspondent: Speakers at a dialogue yesterday said financial institutions must craft a strategic response across adopting the appropriate enablers and innovations underpinned by agile delivery models to address the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact.
They also said the COVID-19 crisis is putting unprecedented strain on markets, governments, businesses and individuals while the pandemic could be one of the most serious challenges faced by the financial services industry.
They came with such insights and suggestions at a Resurgent Dialogue on ‘Digital Innovations in Financial Services: Key to Success in Post-COVID World’ held yesterday, said a press release. The speakers said the pandemic could also bring great opportunities for digital financial services (DFS) in post-COVID world. But, Bangladesh, which has seen early successes in payments, need to move fast with facilitative regulations, risk management guidelines, digital infrastructure, effective data analytics, and capacity building.
The dialogue was jointly organised by Resurgent Bangladesh imitative and Deloitte. Resurgent Bangladesh is an economic recovery initiative in the context of COVID put together by five institutions – MCCI, DCCI, CSE, BUILD, and Policy Exchange.
Senior Secretary of Financial Institutions Division of the Ministry of Finance, Md. Ashadul Islam attended the meeting as the Guest of Honor. The session was attended by number of CEOs of Banks and non-banking financial institutions, board members and senior officials of Digital Finance services, policy experts and development partners.
Dr. Masrur Reaz, Chairman of Policy Exchange, gave the welcome remarks where he stressed that COVID expedites a shift towards digital financial services that was already helping advance financial inclusion.
He said since Bangladesh made great stride in financial development, embracing digital finance in faster pace will help address recent challenges in the banking sector and fast-pacing financial inclusion.
Sharif Islam, Executive Advisor of Deloitte Bangladesh, spoke about the commitment of the world’s largest professional services firm to partner with the government and banking institutions for strengthening financial services industry and revitalizing the country’s economy for sustained high rate of growth in the years ahead.
The keynote paper was presented by Sanjoy Dutta, Financial Services Industry Leader of Deloitte India, responsible for South Asia. Syed Nasim Manzur, Managing Director of Apex Group, provided the summary remarks.
The panel and open session were moderated by President of MCCI Barrister Nihad Kabir.
Aftabul Islam, a member of the board of directors of Bangladesh Bank, opined that COVID-induced changes are real and move towards digitizing financial services will have to take place without any delay in the process. Ali Reza Iftekhar, Chairman of Association of Bankers Bangladesh and MD of Eastern Bank Ltd. said digital means will help reduce cost and enhance capacity to reach out to customers. He called for acceptance of digitized submission of returns by banks to the central banks.
bKash Chairman Shameran Abed said bKash is already supporting transaction of 750,000 BRAC micro finance clients expecting that the number would double in next one year.
Syed Mohammad Kamal, Country Manager of Mastercard International, stressed on incentives for encouraging uptake in digital financial services.
Sonia Bashir Kabir, Co-founder of DMoney, said that both the new generation young population and cottage and micro industries can only be better serviced through enhancing use of technology in financial services.
Chittagong Stock Exchange Chairman Asif Ibrahim stressed on the need to put more focus on digitisation of capital markets while pursuing DFS.
Mutual Trust Bank CEO Syed Mahbubur Rahman, NRB Bank CEO Mehmood Husain, AB Bank President Tarique Afzal, Director of USAID’s Economic Growth Office John Smith-Sreen, BUILD Chairman Abul Kasem Khan, DCCI President Shams Mahmud, and Additional Secretary, Financial Institutions Division of the Ministry of Finance Arijit Chowdhury participated in the open discussion.
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