DHAKA: Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus emphasized that all financial services to the poor do not constitute financial inclusion.
Professor Yunus addressed the topic of financial inclusion at a breakfast meeting organized by the Caixin Media Group during his China tour from July 27 to August 1st 2019.
Around 70 CEOs and founders of financial institutions, university professors, high officials from the Central Bank and NGO leaders attended the event, said a press release.
Some financial services are good for the poor population while others are not equipped well enough to handle their specific needs. People should be protected from such harmful financial services, said Professor Yunus, adding “Policymakers must define the maximum threshold of the rate of interest and all related costs associated with the financial product being delivered. If such measures are effectively in place, not all financial tech companies may not qualify as being part of ‘financial inclusion’.”
Distinguished participants included HU Shuli, Publisher of Caixin Media, WANG Xin; Director of the Research Bureau of the People's Bank of China; XIE Ping, Professor at the People’s Bank of China School of Finance, Tsinghua University; LIU Yonghao, Member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and Chairman of the New Hope Group; JIANG Hai, Chairman of the party committee of XW Bank; ZHANG Lihui, CEO of Caixin Media; GAO Zhan, President of Grameen China; HU Lu, Vice President, Director of Xingmin Intelligent Transportation Systems Co. Ltd; PENG Xi, Director of Tibet Sanli Investment Co.; Ltd., DING Huamei, Director and President of Tianjin Financial Assets Exchange; CHEN Lixing. Co-Founder, Executive Vice President of 9F Group; Chief Executive Officer of 9F puhui; LI Yuanfang, Ph. D. in Economics, National School of Development, Peking University; WANG Haichen, Chief Financial Officer of Youxin Financial Co.,Ltd; WEI Xinyuan, Co-Founder of Bonuo AI.
Prof Yunus had lunch with the Chairman of China Construction Bank, Tian Guoli and other senior management.
The bank wants to introduce Grameen programme in 10 branches. Currently they have three branches where the Grameen programme is operational that is guided by Bangladeshi experts located in each branch.
He also addressed the AFCA International Conference on financial inclusion. Asian Financial Cooperation Association (AFCA) is a regional non-governmental and non-profit organization registered with China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, comprising financial and industry institutions, agencies and experts of the financial sectors from Asian countries on a voluntary basis. Prof. Muhammad Yunus is the co-chair of the Inclusion Program of AFCA.
The Chinese government launched this international initiative which is headquartered in Beijing. He was invited to launch this global program in Dhaka where the entire top brass of AFCA came to Dhaka to organise the global launch.
Prof Yunus reminded the audience to decide at this early stage whether they wish to include predatory lenders into the fold of inclusive finance. He urged AFCA to make a decision at this early stage of their journey. He said the real success of inclusive finance will be demonstrated only when loan sharks and payday-lenders will not exist any more.
A meeting with the Beijing Financial Company (BFHG) was held as well. Fan Wenzhong, Chairman of the Board, Xu Hejun, General Manager of Strategic Innovation Department were present among other senior management officials. Beijing Financial Holding Company is a big data company. All financial information is collected in real time.
Dr Yunus said it can act as a power house in influencing social policies. They can geographical flow of wealth concentration in real time. Financial wealth is moving from rural to urban, urban to city, city to mega city. They can show it at the speed at which it is happening and influence policy makers.
Prof. Muhammad Yunus warned the company about the predatory lenders getting counted as part of financial inclusion and getting the respectability and wealth that is not deserved. Financial technology may make this matter worse and thus uses of financial technology for oppressive financing should be well measured. They should be recognized as a counter force for financial inclusion. “They are a form of financial oppression” he said.
A separate meeting with high net worth businessmen, including entrepreneurs from Bangladeshi origin greeted the Nobel Laureate as well. Prof. Muhammad Yunus will be meeting Mr. Wu Qing, Ex-Chairman of Shanghai Stock Exchange and current Deputy Mayor of Shanghai.
BDST: 1347 HRS, AUG 1, 2019