The Role of Government in Supporting Mobile Financial Services

How can governments effectively support mobile financial services (MFS) expansion?  Over the past ten years, the U.S. government (USG) has provided both direct and indirect support for MFS program development.  Here are some examples of how the USG has acted as an indirect catalyst to support program development and implementation.
USAID has worked closely with and through its host-country counterparts, missions, and implementing partners to establish the legal, regulatory, and political infrastructure upon which two successful branchless banking programs were established: the MABS program in the Philippines, and the MIDAS program in Colombia.
The Philippines’ MABS Rural Banking Program: The Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) program is a longstanding USAID-supported initiative designed to accelerate national economic transformation and increased financial inclusion by encouraging the Philippines’ rural banking industry to expand access to microfinance services, particularly in rural areas. To do so, the MABS Program assists a network of partner rural banks in the Philippines to expand the provision of financial services to microenterprises, small farmers, and low-income households by providing microfinance technical assistance and training. In turn, the banks develop and improve financial services – loans, deposits, money transfer services – designed for microenterprises, small farmers, and low-income households.
MABS assists rural banks in the development and introduction of innovative products, including mobile financial services.  To date, more than 90 MABS-supported rural banks now manage approximately 250,000 micro-loan borrowers with a total outstanding micro-loan portfolio of more than PhP2 billion (US$46.6 million) and approximately 1.5 million micro-savings accounts amounting to more than PhP 2 billion (US$47.4 million).  These banks have also registered more than 250,000 mobile phone banking clients and have processed more than PhP 12 billion (US$250 million) in mobile banking transactions.

Consultative Group to Assist the Poor -rHow can governments effectively support mobile financial services (MFS) expansion?  Over the past ten years, the U.S. government (USG) has provided both direct and indirect support for MFS program development.  Here are some examples of how the USG has acted as an indirect catalyst to support program development and implementation.

USAID has worked closely with and through its host-country counterparts, missions, and implementing partners to establish the legal, regulatory, and political infrastructure upon which two successful branchless banking programs were established: the MABS program in the Philippines, and the MIDAS program in Colombia.

The Philippines’ MABS Rural Banking Program: The Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) program is a longstanding USAID-supported initiative designed to accelerate national economic transformation and increased financial inclusion by encouraging the Philippines’ rural banking industry to expand access to microfinance services, particularly in rural areas. To do so, the MABS Program assists a network of partner rural banks in the Philippines to expand the provision of financial services to microenterprises, small farmers, and low-income households by providing microfinance technical assistance and training. In turn, the banks develop and improve financial services – loans, deposits, money transfer services – designed for microenterprises, small farmers, and low-income households.

MABS assists rural banks in the development and introduction of innovative products, including mobile financial services.  To date, more than 90 MABS-supported rural banks now manage approximately 250,000 micro-loan borrowers with a total outstanding micro-loan portfolio of more than PhP2 billion (US$46.6 million) and approximately 1.5 million micro-savings accounts amounting to more than PhP 2 billion (US$47.4 million).  These banks have also registered more than 250,000 mobile phone banking clients and have processed more than PhP 12 billion (US$250 million) in mobile banking transactions.

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