Bangladesh introduces licensing for MFI's from Jan 2010

Dhaka, Bangladesh (AHN) – The Micro-Credit Regulatory Authority (MRA) will seek fresh applications from micro-finance institutions (MFIs) to issue licenses from January 2010, officials said on Sunday.

“We’ll issue fresh licenses to the MFIs to bring their operations under a regulatory framework,” a senior official of the MRA told AHN Media in Dhaka after a meeting board meeting with its Chairman and Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Atiur Rahman.

The MRA official also said the authority has decided to settle all the pending applications for licenses by December this year.

The country’s micro-credit watchdog body also decided to hold an international conference on MFIs regulations in the capital, Dhaka within March 2010.

“We’ll invite local and foreign experts and researchers to participate the conference,” Executive Vice-President of the MRA and Senior Executive Director of the BB Khandakar Muzharul Haque told AHN in the capital, Dhaka.

The MRA has already issued 453 licenses to the MFIs from among 4,420 applications, submitted to the central bank of Bangladesh, seeking permission for micro-credit operation.

Each MFI must obtain license as a mandatory requirement of the Micro-credit Regulatory Act to operate in the South Asian country.

The government earlier formed an eight-member MRA, headed by the central bank governor, to issue licenses to all private MFIs for ensuring their transparency and accountability.

Micro-credit operation of Grameen Bank and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like BRAC, ASA and Proshika has spread across the country. These three NGOs and Grameen Bank together account for almost 80 percent of total market share of micro-credit both in terms of coverage and disbursement, the central bank said.


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