Microfinance insights hosts Vodafone, FINO, BASIX for public discussion

Written by Businesswire India | Mumbai, June 30: | Updated: Jun 30 2008, 21:23pm hrs
On Thursday, July 3rd, international microfinance magazine Microfinance Insights will bring together key leaders from telecom, technology and livelihoods to discuss how innovations in technology can enable financial inclusion in India. The panel event, Technology and Financial Inclusion: What Works, is sponsored by Financial Information Network & Operations Ltd. (FINO), a provider of cutting edge technologies like Smart cards and biometric devices to financial institutions.

With more than 31% of the population classified as unbanked in a country of 1.1 billion, there is increasing interestfrom a range of private and public stakeholdersin creating innovative banking solutions to reach this market quickly and at the least cost. The event, Technology and Financial Inclusion: What Works, comes at a time when multi-national telecommunications providers are vying for a share of the rural market.

This event comes on the heels of several new developments in the microfinance sector. On Friday, June 27, Nokia announced plans to launch internet-based services in rural India with a focus on microfinance and agricultural services. A week earlier, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced draft guidelines on mobile banking. Such legislation could enable companies such as Vodafone, which made its foray into the Indian market last year, to launch its popular M-PESA money transfer service, which has been hugely successful in Kenya.

However, mobile technology is not the only way of banking the unbanked. A host of banking technologies-smart cards, biometric devices, point-of-sale (POS) devices are being quickly adopted by mainstream banks and telecom companies in an effort to become more competitive, efficient and expand services.

But what works best for greater financial inclusion Who will lead the charge: commercial banks, microfinance institutions or telecom providers Who are the players, and what must they do to accelerate financial inclusion What role does regulation play in enabling technology to reach the unbanked Most importantly, what sort of technology solutions will work best for this market segment The panelists at Technology and Financial Inclusion: What Works will discuss these questions and more on July 3, 2008. This event is open to the press.

Technology and Financial Inclusion: What Works

A Discussion about Microfinance, Regulation, M-banking, Technology & Financial Inclusion

Speakers:

-- Vijay Mahajan, Founder, BASIX

-- Rajesh Dongre, Head, Mobile Business Commerce, Vodafone India

-- Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Professor, IIT, Chennai

-- Manish Khera, CEO, FINO

Date:

-- Thursday, July 3, 2008

Time:

-- 4:00pm-6:00pm (Registration begins at 3:30)

Venue:

-- Hotel Grand Hyatt, Santa Cruz (E), Mumbai, India

Seats are limited. All press and guests are requested to RSVP: jerilene@mfinsights.com; +91-22-4035-9210.

The event is followed by the Srijan 2008 Panel Discussion and Awards Ceremony followed by dinner from 6:00 PM onwards.

About Microfinance Insights

Microfinance Insights is an international print magazine published by Intellecap to serve the knowledge needs of the growing microfinance sector. The magazine has become a comprehensive and consolidated resource to its 5,000 readers around the world. The magazine publishes diverse global voices, uncovers trends, and analyzes critical issues from economic, business, and social angles, and regularly hosts knowledge building events and participates in relevant conferences around the world. In September 2008, Microfinance Insights will release its 8th issue: Technology in Microfinance. To subscribe, visit www.microfinanceinsights.com or contact +91-22-40359222.

About Intellecap:

Intellecap is a social business advisory firm that facilitates investment, incubates innovate businesses, and creates knowledge focused on sustainable development. Srijan is a business plan competition created and sponsored by Intellecap. www.intellecap.net

About FINO:

Financial Information Network & Operations (FINO), a multi bank promoted company is a pioneering company providing cutting edge smart card based multi application solutions to unbanked in Banking,Microfinance,Insurance and Government sectors primarily located in rural & semi urban areas of India. FINO ethos is becoming a sectoral venture for serving the rural masses and help other institutions contribute as per 'Financial Inclusion' guidelines of RBI. FINO executes end to end turnkey solutions for LFIs including hardware/ software, system integration, transaction network, operations, maintenance & training. FINO helps organizations improve efficiencies considerably reducing overall project cost. In fact, FINOs concept is to take banking and the banking technology to un-banked masses in the country. www.fino.co.in.