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Central Bank joins Alliance for Financial Inclusion; commits to Maya Declaration

The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) has further cemented its policy on financial inclusion by committing to the Maya Declaration and joining the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), the bank announced yesterday.

Launched in 2011, the Maya Declaration is the AFI’s initiative to encourage national commitments to financial inclusion for the world’s unbanked populations. It requires signatories to make concrete financial inclusion targets, implement in-country policy changes and regularly share progress updates.

“AFI is a platform to exchange knowledge, receive technical assistance, and improve financial inclusion policy, with the aim of making financial services more accessible to the world’s unbanked. It is led by its members and partners, central banks and other financial regulatory institutions. There is a network of members from more than 90 developing countries, all working together to accelerate the adoption of proven, innovative financial inclusion policy solutions,” the bank said in a statement.

By becoming an AFI member, the bank has committed to the introduction of a digital version of the Bahamian currency by 2020, to ensure minimum levels of access to banking and payments services in geographically remote parts of The Bahamas. The bank has also committed to conclude the development and start-up of a credit bureau by 2020, to foster trust and accountability between supervised financial institutions (SFIs) and their customers.

The bank also agrees to make measurable commitments in four broad areas: the creation of an enabling environment to harness new technology that increases access and lowers the cost of financial services; the implementation of a proportional framework that advances synergies in financial inclusion, integrity, and stability; the integration of consumer protection and empowerment as a key pillar of financial inclusion; and the use of data for informed policymaking and tracking results.

AFI is a platform to exchange knowledge, receive technical assistance, and improve financial inclusion policy, with the aim of making financial services more accessible to the world’s unbanked. It is led by its members and partners, central banks and other financial regulatory institutions. There is a network of members from more than 90 developing countries, all working together to accelerate the adoption of proven, innovative financial inclusion policy solutions. 

Via its membership the Central Bank also intends to:

• Support the development of a national financial inclusion strategy by 2020.

• Increase access to banking and payment services by reinforcing customer due diligence requirements.

• Collaborate with the government on improved national identity infrastructure to enhance the Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures in SFIs.

• In partnership with relevant stakeholders, pursue the creation of an Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman (OFSO) by 2020.

• Promote public awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities through the recently deployed financial literacy program, Get Money Smart Bahamas.

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