Financial inclusion remains strategic area for WSBI and its members, also in Asia. However, too little resources are dedicated to financial inclusion in rural areas. These rural areascontribute more and moreto the national economies and the current financial services offer can no longer keep up with the modernisation of agriculture, villages and farmers.
The 1st Workshop on Rural Financial Inclusion hosted by the Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) gathered about 50 participants from the WSBI Asian membership. Distinguished guests included Chinese policy makers in charge of financial inclusion, academics and Vice Presidents of largest Chinese commercial banks.
China Postal Savings Banks explained how the financial resources allocated to rural areas are not proportionate to the rising importance and contribution of rural economy to national economy and cannot keep pace with the increasing financial needs in rural areas with modernization of agriculture, villages and farmers. The Chinese government has put in place different measures to address the gap, eg. requesting banks to set up rural financial inclusion department to specialize in serving the sector, building the credit rating system for rural poor, developing credit guarantee schemes, extending the collateral, etc. PSBC's approach in financial inclusion is labelled as "4D": Deep (deepen the outreach) /Directed (focused groups)/Dependent (collaborative)/Digital Inclusive Finance).
The objective is to enable more rural outlets to offer credit business and make sure that deposits from rural areas are used for rural development. Capacity building for bank staff in rural outlets and equip them with credit skills are also an absolute condition to address the finance gap.
During the workshop, the partiipants from Bangladesh (Bank Asia), Cambodia (Cambodia Post), Korea (Korea Post), the Philippines (Aski), Sri Lanka (National SavingsBank) and Vietnam (LienViet PostBank) partiicpated in the discussion and in the exchange of experiences in the field of financial inclusion, agent banking and digital finance.
The workshop was organized back to back with a study visit to WeBank (first Chinese on-line only bank). WeBank has a bankig licencse since 20147 and uses Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cloud and Big Data in its customer and marketing approach. The product range of the bank goesfrom microloans to individual and SME loans and wealth management.
More than 98 million users have been re-approved, and the bank has 31 million microloan customers