Tasmie Tabassum Ali |
April 21, 2022 12:07:30 a.m.
Gone are the days when working in finance meant sitting at a computer from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and typing values into an Excel sheet, not seeing the real impact of your work. Finance jobs today demand more from people than being good with numbers. They also give back more than the job security and mundane routine usually associated with these professions. The financial sector in Bangladesh has witnessed significant changes and innovations over the past few years. This has made finance a popular career choice for many young people.
Banking jobs today are not as boring and monotonous as claimed. However, it has been almost a decade since banks stepped out of their comfort zone to work towards financial inclusion, taking it a step further beyond their corporate social responsibility. Introduced by Bangladesh Bank in 2013, agent banking has played a pivotal role in paving the way for financial inclusion. Through banking agents, commercial banks have reached people living in the most remote areas of the country and contributed to their economic empowerment.
“Contributing to the economic development of rural Bangladesh and providing financial services to the unbanked population of our country has given me a sense of accomplishment. We have risen to the challenge of moving urban banking services to rural areas and reaching the stage of establishing a financial kiosk in every village in the country,” says Suman Roy, a First Assistant Vice President (FAVP) working at Bank Asia Limited’s Post Office Agent Banking. He believes that young people in Bangladesh are hard workers and risk takers who generate innovative ideas, making them invaluable assets to the country’s financial sector.
Microfinance institutions (MFIs) have impacted the lives of millions of people living in low-income households in Bangladesh for almost four decades. They have played a vital role in distributing loans and capital to those who cannot access traditional banking and financial services due to income and credit constraints. MFIs give their employees the opportunity to work closely with rural communities and build lasting relationships that connect them to the roots of Bangladesh. The satisfaction of actually helping many small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and playing a role in the financial liberation of women in remote and disadvantaged areas often attracts people to work for organizations like BRAC and the SAJIDA Foundation, which provide microfinance to micro, small and medium enterprises. average entrepreneurs across the country.
Technology has always been a central aspect of the financial industry. Yet recent times have seen the growth of the fintech industry, a fusion of finance and technology, to a level never seen before. The introduction of bKash by BRAC Bank Limited revolutionized the fintech industry in Bangladesh and was quickly followed by many banks launching their own mobile financial services (MFS) offerings. In addition, IT and software companies are now working more closely with banks to facilitate the provision of financial services. One such company is Hishab Limited, a Dhaka-based IT company with a global presence. Hishab recently partnered with a commercial bank to roll out voice banking, which will allow customers to transact over conversation, without the need for an app or even the internet. Hishab co-founder and COO Fayadan Hossain said the fintech industry’s agile culture creates many growth opportunities that can be utilized by people who want to advance in financial careers. When asked what aspect of his job has motivated him the most, he replied, “In this fast-paced industry, not being nervous will leave you behind the crowd. The thrill of having to come up with innovative solutions, to competitors’ challenges, and the satisfaction of being able to serve millions of customers through my work are what motivates me the most.”
Of course, the monetary and social benefits associated with jobs in finance are attractive, as are the opportunities for growth. These are often the only reasons people take up a career in finance, but there’s so much more to this seemingly narrow career path. Today, working in the financial sector allows you to think beyond yourself and actively give back to your country and your community through your daily work. You can see the visible impact your work has on the lives of people not even directly connected to you, which is inspiring. Banks, MFIs and fintech companies are working towards a more inclusive and integrated financial ecosystem, and the youth of this country can prove to be a vital part of that change.
The author is a third year BBA student at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka.