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Financial Access for Bangladeshi Factory Workers Enabled Following AGAM and Swisscontact Alliance

UK fintech, AGAM International and international NGO, Swisscontact, have partnered to accelerate financial access to thousands of Ready-Made Garment (RMG) factory workers across Bangladesh.

The partnership, through Swisscontact’s ‘Sarathi – Improving Financial Health’ project in Bangladesh, aims to bring RMG workers into formal banking services. Not only that, but also improve their financial health.

The alliance will use an AI-technology and behavioural insights approach to credit scoring to enable the provision of credit to a larger community. Doing so faster and more fairly than before. The partnership will positively impact RMG factory workers. It will enable access to nano loans and earned wage access, the credit for which is provided by AGAM’s partner bank(s).

AGAM International’s technology, the dynamic credit scoring system (IIIℱ), lends based on character, commitment, and capability. It puts responsibility directly into the hands of individuals in underserved communities. In turn, empowering them to gain instant access to finance without the need for prior credit history. Financial education modules are included to improve a person’s understanding of risk to lead to a better credit score.

Ensuring financial inclusion

Speaking about the partnership with Swisscontact, AGAM International’s founder and CEO, Shabnam Wazed, said: “Our partnership with Swisscontact enables it to scale the positive impact of its mission. Working alongside Swisscontact, we are proud to harness AI technology to make the process of lending faster and fairer. We want to scale financial inclusion to the millions of RMG factory workers in Bangladesh.”

Under this partnership Swisscontact is able to draw on AGAM International’s credit scoring platform which unlocks access to finance. Even for those without a traditional credit history. Its AI based behavioural analysis backed credit scoring provides Swisscontact with the confidence to identify prospective borrowers. It lets Swisscontact make accurate, speedy, lending decisions, enabling RMG factory workers to access credit when they need it most.

Sarathi project’s team leader, Bipasha S. Hossain said: “We are looking forward to partnering with AGAM International to effectively scale the impact of our work to a larger population of RMG workers and their communities.”

This announcement is the latest development in AGAM International’s partnership with Swisscontact. The NGO previously backed AGAM International’s first successful pilot in 2021 with Bangladesh’s largest commercial bank, Prime Bank Limited.

Traditionally, RMG factory workers have been excluded from accessing emergency credit. Largely because traditional credit-check methods fail to recognise them due to a lack of credit score. While these workers are fully capable of repaying, they are forced to access emergency credit through informal lending with extortionate interest rates.

Author

  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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