The Indian government reportedly is awaiting the Parliament’s approval to spend an additional INR 54.3 billion (USD 859 million) for several institutions including an additional INR 10 billion (USD 159 million) for each of the following: Nirbhaya Fund, a fund supporting women’s safety in India; National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), which is backed by the Indian Ministry of Finance and provides skill training programs to India’s workforce; and to establish a women’s bank in India.
The Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank, recently asked commercial banks to provide readymade garment (RMG) workers with bank accounts so they can receive wages through direct deposit. BB requested commercial banks not to require a minimum balance or charge for banking services.
Between April and June of 2013, the value of savings held by Pakistan’s microfinance providers (MFPs) reportedly increased by 19.4 percent from the previous quarter to total PKR 30 billion (USD 282 million).
Ujjivan Financial Services, a Bangalore-based microfinance institution, has raised INR 500 million (USD 7.9 million) of debt capital from Oikocredit, a Dutch cooperative investment fund, for on-lending to microfinance clients in an effort to support economic development in poor Indian communities.
Rizal Microbank, a Philippines-based microfinance subsidiary of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) that offers microloans, deposits, and microinsurance, reportedly is spending PHP 16,000,000 (USD 367,000) to set up eight mobile microbusiness offices (MBOs) to increase microfinance services in the Philippines . The MBOs, which will be made up of two container vans and run by two bank employees, will allow customers to deposit and withdraw cash and apply for loans without needing to travel to a bank branch . The transactions will be cashless and done through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) or RCBC’s “My Wallet” debit card .
SKS Trust Advisors Private Limited, the India-based trustee of five mutual benefit trusts benefiting groups who borrow from SKS Microfinance Limited, reportedly has purchased an additional 2.69 percent of the shares of SKS Microfinance, increasing its stake in the firm to 12.6 percent.
Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), a UK-based financial services company, recently notified MicroCapital that it disbursed loans of INR 450 million (USD 7.2 million) to Equitas Microfinance, a microfinance institution in Chennai, India, and INR 350 million (5.5 million) Satin Credit Care, a microfinance institution in Delhi, India, during August 2013. The purpose of both loans is to support on-lending to microentrepreneurs. It is estimated that 30,000 microenterprises will receive financing as a result of these two wholesale loans. Standard Chartered Bank has been associated with Equitas since 2012 and Satin since 2006. Further information on the loans has not been released.
The Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG), the nation’s central bank, the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP), a UN-sponsored initiative that provides financial services to poor people, and the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI), a coordinating entity for financial inclusion strategies in the country, met in August 2013 to discuss extending financial inclusion to 1.6 million unbanked and underbanked Papua New Guineans, of which 50 percent are low income women, by 2015.
The UK-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) recently signed a deal with Mongolian microfinance institution (MFI) Transcapital Financial Services (TFS) to provide a local-currency loan of MNT 1.62 billion (USD 1 million) for on-lending to microenterprises throughout Mongolia.
The Nepalese government recently issued regulations mandating that insurance companies in the country offer microinsurance policies in an effort to provide access to affordable insurance for poor people.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ), an Australia-based bank, and Fiserv, a US-based financial services technology provider, reportedly have partnered to provide mobile money services to people lacking access to traditional financial services in Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
The World Bank Group, a US-based international financial institution; the National Housing Bank (NHB), an Indian bank and regulatory authority; and the government of India recently signed a USD 100 million credit agreement for a Low-Income Housing Finance Project, which will aim to improve accessibility to housing loans for low-income households in India to purchase, build or renovate homes.
Several private equity (PE) funds reportedly have taken stakes totaling INR 325 crore (USD 50.9 million) in Janalakshmi Financial Services (JFS), an Indian microfinance institution (MFI) that focuses on disbursing loans to clients in urban areas.
Fiji’s National Financial Inclusion Taskforce (NFIT), a committee formed in 2010 by the country’s national bank the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP), a program established with the intent of increasing access to financial services among low-income households in the Pacific Islands, reportedly has reached 87 percent of its goal of extending financial services to 150,000 unbanked citizens in the country by 2014 .
The People’s Bank of China (PBC), the central bank of the People’s Republic of China, has reported significant growth in the country’s microcredit sector over the past three years, with the number of microcredit companies reaching approximately 7,000 and the total outstanding loans reaching CNY 700 billion (USD 115 billion) at the end of June 2013 in China .
IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Limited, a joint venture backed by two public-sector Indian banks and the local arm of the UK-based Legal and General Group, reportedly has announced plans to start offering pension products and microinsurance during the financial year 2013-14 following the release of the updates to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) guidelines on microinsurance, according to a statement attributed to the IndiaFirst Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer P. Nandagopal .
Citi Foundation, the charitable arm of US-based financial services provider Citigroup that provides grants for small and growing businesses, in partnership with Access Development Services, an Indian nonprofit consultant to microfinance institutions (MFIs), has opened applications for the 10th annual Citi Micro Enterprise Awards, which aim to recognize and honor microenterprises in India that have generated employment and reduced poverty in their communities .
Incofin Investment Management, a Belgium-based microfinance investment fund manager, and Agora Microfinance NV (AMNV), an Amsterdam-based microfinance holding company, have acquired minority stakes in Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea (AMK), a microfinance institution (MFI) that distributes loans to approximately 300,000 clients in Cambodia .