A Look into Financial Inclusion in Thailand
Updated: Oct 7, 2020
The future of finance in Thailand is bright. Due to the help of the FinTech industry, the country’s mobile and internet penetration has grown exponentially in the past few years, resulting in higher use of digital financial services.
Recognizing the importance of the FinTech industry in driving financial inclusion, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) has taken on the role of enabling FinTech expansion in Thailand. They are also considering issuing licenses to digital-only banks to further greater financial inclusion all the while catering to the changes brought about by the digital age. The government of Thailand is also pushing for a digital economy via its 4.0 nationwide strategy.
These are some initiatives in Thailand that help to promote financial inclusion in the country but the country’s underbanked and unbanked people still constitute 45% and 18% of the population respectively — with the underbanked only having a deposit account and the unbanked having no access at all to any kind of financial services or products. Despite the country’s advancements in the past few years, there is more to be done to ensure financial inclusion for all especially in Thailand’s Northeast region, Isan, which is the most populous and considered the poorest in the country.
An Overview on Isan
Even though Isan’s poverty rate improved from 5.7 million people in 2007 to 2.4 million people in 2016, poverty remains a problem in the region. Aside from its low average income, Isaan also has a big debt problem. In a report by the Asia Foundation on Isan, 88% of their respondents said they were in debt. This has become a huge problem — with borrowers taking out loans to pay expenses for their land and household.
This is where the people of Isan can benefit from financial inclusion. By making sure that Isan’s people have access to formal financial services and products, and are financially educated, the cycle of poverty can be broken. By being aware of how financial products work, borrowers can borrow the right amount and avoid the struggle that comes with repayment. Both microfinance institutions (MFI’s) and social programs by the government can promote financial education to avoid over-indebtedness.
Extending the reach of MFI’s to Isan
The majority of the population in Isan lives in rural areas — about 17 million compared to Isan’s 4 million urban population. Because of this, it is harder for financial institutions to reach the majority of Isan’s population due to the distance and cost of setting up a branch in a rural area.
For microfinance institutions to extend their reach to those who need their help the most, going digital is the answer. This is where BanqIn (A Product of Bank-Genie), a financial inclusion banking platform by Bank-Genie, can help by offering a way for microfinance institutions to extend their reach to the unbanked and underbanked population.
BanqIn has an all-in-one comprehensive banking platform that is sufficient to run MFI’s. BanqIn has three key features: mobile and internet banking to make remote transactions possible; agency or branchless banking to deliver financial services through banking agents and communication technologies; and digital onboarding to allow customers to digitally sign up as banking customers. These features make it possible for MFI’s to reach those who live in rural areas and to empower those who remain unbanked.
These features will enable Isan’s people to become financially included. Through BanqIn’s solutions, microfinance institutions can engage customers with their services anytime and anywhere because even if Isan is considered the poorest and most disadvantaged part of Thailand, they should not be left behind.
An instant all-in-one financial inclusion platform for microfinance institutions, credit unions, rural and thrift banks to reach the billions around the world who remain unbanked. BanqIn (A Product of Bank-Genie) is committed to empowering financial institutions with the most cost-efficient, accessible, and comprehensive banking platform. BanqIn reduces risks, increases productivity, and extends reach to meaningfully serve and unlock the financial opportunities for its customers.
Bank-Genie Pte. Ltd. is a Singapore-based company incorporated in 2016. For banks and financial institutions who are driving towards digital transformation, Bank-Genie is a future-focused technology partner that helps enrichen the banking experience.
Bank-Genie has a proven record across markets of Asia and Africa with its Interceptive Banking Technology. Bank-Genie Pte Ltd is funded by SBI Ven Capital Pte Ltd and FMO, the Dutch Development Bank.