News From Telecom World

BB drafts policy on mobile phone banking: Asks banks for recommendations on the draft by Sept 10

Posted on: September 15, 2008

The Bangladesh Bank has asked the commercial banks to send their recommendations within two weeks on a draft policy allowing mobile phone banking in Bangladesh, sources said.

‘The central bank will finalise the draft policy for allowing mobile phone banking with recommendations and consent from the stakeholders within September 10,’ said a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank.

A meeting was held Tuesday (26 Aug ‘08) at the central bank on the draft policy, with governor Salehuddin Ahmed in chair and managing directors of the private commercial banks attending.

BB sources said the draft has also been distributed among the members of the department of currency management and payment system of the central bank. Managing directors of the private commercial banks are also members of the department.

According to commercial bank sources, they fear that the proposed policy may give the mobile phone operators a huge edge over the traditional banking business now in operation under the tough Banking Companies Act 1991.

At present, phone and online banking in Bangladesh merely offer services like balance check and request for statement, cheque book etc. But, according to the draft policy, Bangladesh Mobile Payments Guidelines 2008, the mobile banking will allow fund transfer just like a bank, thus paving the way for money transaction through cell phones across the country.

Once the policy is approved, mobile phone companies’ outlets would be used as payment transaction centres.

Banks will also be required to seek licence to offer the services.

The BB took the initiative following Grameenphone’s application in December for a licence to introduce mobile banking.

On receipt of GP’s application, the central bank held several meetings with the government agencies and departments concerned, undertook research and studies, and a team of officials visited Thailand and the Philippines where the system is in operation.

Neighbouring India and Pakistan have also adopted the system.

Source: New Age

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