Breakout Session: Growth Through Financial Inclusion & Access Moderator: Gwen Robinson, Senior Editor, Nikkei Asian Review

Written by  //  November 17, 2014  //  UMFCCI News  //  No comments

Panelists: Hal Bosher, Special Advisor to the CEO, Yoma Bank Romain Caillaud, Managing Director, Myanmar, Vriens & Partners Kim Chawsu Gyi, Managing Director, International Banking Division & Head of Transformations, KBZ Bank Timothy Amstutz, Chairman, Board of Directors for KREDIT Microfinance Institution Promotion of MSMEs and greater inclusion into the financial system require that reforms and improvements are to be undertaken to promote the accessibility of the population to financial resources. While there have been much changes to improve the accessibility of the public to the financial sector in ASEAN Member States like Myanmar, there is still much to do in order to further promote the inclusion and accessibility to the financial sector. One of the means through which the micro, small and medium enterprises and a greater segment of the population could gain access to necessary finance in order to realize their potential and aspirations is through microfinance. In the microfinance area, it is important to note that there is a large potential for profitability at the “Bottom-of-the-Pyramid” segment, and firms engaging in microfinance to serve these segment require the commitment to continue to serve these target segments rather than lose focus through up scaling to higher segments in order to continuously serve the BOP segment and facilitate their inclusion into the financial system. In countries like Myanmar, microfinance is still limited and more financial products are needed to fit the target needs of the MSMEs, women entrepreneurs as well as other underserved segments. However, although there is a need to facilitate financial reforms, it is also important to proceed cautiously to generate and maintain public trust in the financial sector. Although there is limitations on formal financial sector, it is also important to realize that there is a large informal financial sector in existence, and efforts are required to incentivize people to join the formal sector, and the microfinance operations need to keep in constant touch with the clients in order to properly meet their requirements as well as achieve low default risk. In order to promote financial inclusion and access, particularly for the MSMEs, such efforts should also be undertaken with to ensure that such efforts are sustainable and efficient, particularly through ensuring that the initiative is commercially sound. And while access and inclusion to the financial sector for the greater segment of the population, including women, it is also important to raise the financial literacy as well as capacity building in terms of vocational trainings to ensure that the access to the financial system is used effectively. And in order to effectively promote financial inclusion and accessibility, financial institutions need the flexibility to generate financial products to better meet target segments’ needs, and a simple and effective regulatory framework for the market.

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