Bangladesh's best digital bank 2019: Brac Bank
That Bangladesh as a country is managing to shed its image as a fintech laggard has much to do with a seminal decision made by Brac Bank in 2011. The lender boasts an impressive range of own-brand digital services.
Customers can pay bills, view active loan information and account statements, see their transaction history, pay for visa applications and transfer funds to any other Brac account, all via a mobile app.
But it is the bank’s decision eight years ago to create a new mobile financial services division and to be brave enough to give it wings, that guarantees Brac Bank this award. That new service is, of course, bKash.
Right from the start, bKash was treated as neither a bank-led nor a telco-led company. It secured investment from the IFC and China’s Ant Financial Services, among others, and brought in experts who cut their teeth in industry rather than finance.
Its mobile services were transparent, simple and easy to use. Anyone over the age of 18 could open an account for free and get to work sending and receiving money, making payments, recharging their mobile balance and paying bills.
By any measure, bKash has proved to be a staggering success, so much so that it is busy exploring ventures and opportunities with several of Bangladesh’s other big lenders, including The City Bank. Data is hard to come by, but when Asiamoney paid chief executive Kamal Quadir a visit in 2018, we found a profitable firm growing at an exponential rate and processing five million transactions each day. Well done Brac Bank.