The CGAP Technology Blog, operated by US-based think tank CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), recently posted an article by Kabir Kumar and Yanina Seltzer that reviews branchless banking in Brazil, whereby agents such as retailers and post offices serve as links between banks and customers. The article is the first of a planned series that examines the state of branchless banking in different countries.
The authors voice concern over the unclear trajectory of Brazil’s agent business in the light of new agent regulations and because: “Bank unions want agents to be considered bank employees and get paid accordingly. Courts have already ruled in their favor and it is possible the results of those rulings will unfold in the coming year” . The authors also comment on the rapid growth of Brazil’s cell-phone market and indicates the possibility of growth in partnerships between banks and mobile operators to offer cell-phone-based financial services. The authors argue that there will be a need for increased regulation to keep pace with the developments in mobile banking.
The authors conclude by saying that the evolution of financial inclusion in Brazil will provide significant insights that could be useful to donors and others working to increase financial inclusion in Africa and South Asia.
By Medha Ravi, Research Associate
About CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor):
Housed at the World Bank Group, CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) is an independent policy and research center dedicated to facilitating the provision of financial access to poor people worldwide. CGAP is supported by approximately thirty development agencies and private foundations. Its mission is to provide market intelligence, to promote standards and to offer advisory services to governments, microfinance providers, donors and investors.
Source and Resources:
 CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Technology Blog, “Meanwhile in Brazil…are we there yet?”, http://technology.cgap.org/2011/04/21/meanwhile-in-brazil-are-we-there-yet/
MicroCapital.org story, March 1, 2011, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Launches Online Branchless Banking Database”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-cgap-consultative-group-to-assist-the-poor-launches-online-branchless-banking-database/
MicroCapital.org Article, December 14, 2009, “Branchless and Mobile Banking Could Become Top Microfinance Channel by 2020 Says CGAP Focus Note”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-branchless-and-mobile-banking-could-become-top-microfinance-channel-by-2020-says-cgap-focus-note/
MicroCapital Microfinance Universe Profile: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=CGAP+%28Consultative+Group+to+Assist+the+Poor%29
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