August 4, 2016 – Fifty new Branchless Banking touch points (BLB) will now be established in 27 districts in the western, mid-western and far-western regions of Nepal to provide improve access to financial services for rural poor communities in the area. These BLB points will use Point of Sale machines (POS) and are being established through a new partnership between Sakchyam, an UKaid funded access to finance programme and Everest Bank Limited. A signing ceremony to launch this new partnership took place today at Hotel Shangrila.
In regions where access to financial services is scarce and where it might not be viable for banks to open physical branch offices, BLBs have been seen to work well as alternative delivery channels for crucial financial services that help connect the populations to the formal financial sector. Everest Bank will increase banking channels to unbanked/low-banked people to inculcate a banking habit through Branchless Banking by collecting deposits and fulfilling the financial needs of individuals, agricultural cooperatives and MSMEs by providing loans. The agents will be equipped with tablet devices to execute transactions.
“Sakchyam’s technical assistance and Challenge Funding will support Everest Bank in its mission to provide rural populations the type of financial services that can help jumpstart local economies. Our Branchless Banking initiatives are aligned with and will work to expedite recent government policies regarding One Citizen One Bank Account and the rollout of Government-to-Public (G2P) payments through banks,” said Mr. Baljit Vohra, Team Leader, UKaid Sakchyam Access to Finance.
“DFID Nepal is happy to be supporting Sakchyam’s initiatives in Branchless Banking as a viable alternative delivery channel. This is in line with our objectives of reducing poverty in these regions and we look forward to seeing visible positive changes in these regions,” said Mr. Rabi Rayamajhi, Private Sector Development Advisor, DFID Nepal.
“Sakchyam works closely with the Ministry of Finance in seeking feedback for its various interventions and we are happy to see the developments they have brought about within 2 years,” said Mr. Kisan Singh Basnet, Under Secretary, Ministry of Finance.
“Sakchyam and Nepal Rastra Bank have a working relationship and we are pleased to be working together on a number of initiatives. I am happy to hear of Sakchyam and its work with banks and financial institutions such as Everest Bank to toward its goals of financial inclusion, which are in fact also a priority for the Rastra Bank,” said Mr. Shiba Raj Shrestha, Deputy Governor, Nepal Rastra Bank.
“This facility will cover 27 districts of the far, mid and western regions of the country. We have also introduced tablet banking as mode of Branchless Banking and expanded Deprived Sector Lending and Agriculture Loans through this SEBA Project,” said Mr. AK Ahluwalia, CEO, Everest Bank Limited.
The signing ceremony programme took place at Hotel Shangrila and was attended by Mr. Shiba Raj Shrestha, Deputy Governor, Nepal Rastra Bank; Mr. Kisan Singha Basnet, Under Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Mr. Rabi Rayamajhi, Private Sector Development Advisor, DFID Nepal. Also present were a large number of economic journalists representing leading national dailies, financial papers and television channels.