MAS and BIS launches BIS Innovation Hub Centre amid need for growing financial inclusion
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) launched the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Singapore on Nov 13.
The launch took place at the sidelines of the 2019 Singapore FinTech Festival x Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SFF x SWITCH).
The BIS Innovation Hub Centre, together with the others in Hong Kong SAR and Switzerland, is designed to foster innovation and collaboration within the central banking community globally, by growing the understanding of financial technology, and developing solutions that enhance the financial system.
The Hub Centre in Singapore will focus on two projects at the start. The first project involves establishing a framework for public digital infrastructures on identity, consent and data sharing, while the second involves creating a digital platform that will connect central banks with regulatory challenges with the solutions offered by the fintech community.
In his opening address, Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS, noted that financial inclusion needs to continue to evolve. He explained that financial inclusion needed to move from improving access to bank accounts to growing the usage of them, and from developing innovative solutions for the unbanked to facilitating collaboration between financial institutions and fintechs to promote integrated solutions.
“The need to move the goal from merely access to well-informed usage is increasingly recognised in the development community. The World Bank’s Global Findex Database reports that 20% of bank account owners have not used their accounts in the past 12 months,” said Menon.
“In other words, policy, infrastructure, and services aimed at improving financial inclusion need to genuinely make a difference in people’s lives so that inclusion is meaningful and sustained. Products need to be designed with the end-user in mind, to delight rather than to perplex with technology.”
To that end, Menon believe central banks and regulators have a role in ensuring that financial inclusion initiatives are effective, and delivers responsible, stable and inclusive outcomes for those who need it most.