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From introducing new services and pilot products to improvements in process and delivery, we continued on our journey towards achieving our goal of financial inclusion.
Click on the photos below to see some of the stories.
Expanding our reach
Last year, we enrolled more than half a million new borrowers – making our total number of clients seven million! We also opened 200 new branches to support our clients, and reaching more of the unbanked population. We now work through a total of 2,300 branches across the country.
We surpassed our previous records in terms of loan disbursement. In 2018, we disbursed a record-breaking USD 4.2 billion in Bangladesh, a 21% rise from 2017.
Clients come first and foremost in our mission. We are the only Smart Certified microfinance institution in the country, our primary focus being meeting universal standards of client protection.
Among many other initiatives, we promote financial literacy among our clients through our customer service assistants, all of whom are women. A total of 2,099 assistants are available in most of our branches today. In 2018, they provided financial literacy training to three million female borrowers.
Promoting gender equality
87% of the people we serve are women. We always have special focus on training our employees on gender awareness.
Last year we provided 882 regional and area managers with gender training, and 161 customer service assistant were trained on violence against women and children, and sexual harassment at the workplace.
These trainings act as a catalyst for breaking gender stereotypes and create a pathway to building respectful work environment. We believe that when a workforce has awareness on gender, it promotes empowerment for all – from the clients they work for, to the employees themselves.
Looking to the future
The journey ahead looks hopeful, thanks to our dedicated staff who have been tirelessly working to enable our clients improve their lives through access to financial services.
Even with the challenges which lie ahead, we can only think of our 44 year-long journey and how the mission continues. As Confucius once said: “It is easy to hate, and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve, and bad things are very easy to get.”
Kamran Ibne Abdul Qader is a senior communications officer at BRAC’s microfinance programme.