1. MFS/DFS is one of the most emerging and dynamic sectors of Bangladesh. What are the challenges of being one of the managing directors of this sector?
Tanvir A Mishuk: Every growing industry needs to pass through certain kind of challenges. We found that ecosystem readiness is one of the pressing challenges for growing MFS in Bangladesh. Although we are upbringing people’s lives into a digital space, with a capable ecosystem, we can move even faster than now.
Proper policy also needs to be in place to match with the latest technology and customer’s needs.
Another big challenge is that our customers are mostly not technologically adept. They have some reservations about using technology, and also a fear of using digital services.
2. You had an illustrious footing in the telecommunication sector. What made you shift your focus to fintech?
Tanvir A Mishuk: Making life easier for the Bangladeshi people by using technology is my top priority. That’s why I have always concentrated on technology-related services. In this regard, the vision of our government to make Bangladesh a digitalized country also helped me to further concentrate on my plan.
I also noticed that there is a huge untapped market in the financial industry. When we launched Nagad, there was only 33 percent financial inclusion in the country, combining all kinds of financial services. Demographic dividends also pushed me to focus my business on digitalization and technology.
3. What were the key factors behind Nagad capturing the market so quickly?
Tanvir A Mishuk: Grabbing the market at a faster pace was one of our top priorities when we launched our service. We started adopting state-of-the-art technology to match with users’ inspiration to be financially included. At the same time, we were offering the perfect match with tech and service costs. You will find Nagad as the most cost-effective service in the market, and our cost has gone down as we have been using technology from the beginning. You will find that sending money and the payment of bills have been free at Nagad from the very beginning, and cashing out the sum is also half the market rate. These gave Nagad a breakthrough in the market.
We embraced the vision of the head of the government, honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for establishing Bangladesh as a digital country as fast as possible.
4. Tell us about Nagad’s cultural changes and shifts over the years.
Tanvir A Mishuk: At Nagad, we have created a change-making culture that desires for upgrading people’s life to a digital society. The success of this shift has spread to the users’ level that helped to build their confidence in the homegrown service. Nagad believes in partnership, and cooperation between operators has pushed the carrier to elevate to the next level.
5. What are your thoughts regarding the financial regulation scenario in Bangladesh?
Tanvir A Mishuk: I think the regulatory procedure of the financial sector, especially the digital financial sector, could be more futuristic, targeting users’ benefits. Digital banking is now a reality in the developed world, and we need to shift to it without wasting any time.
6. How is Nagad leveraging innovation for future-proofing the financial network in Bangladesh?
Tanvir A Mishuk: Nagad, a public-private partnership, is trying to strengthen its future mostly by using innovative technology where a partnership with public and private agencies also play a big role. Nagad has adopted the means for financial inclusion that is in use in developed countries. On the back of these, we introduced some state-of-the-art innovations like electronic KYC as the first company in Bangladesh. Nagad also rolled out *167# in the market, a service that did not exist in the market before.
7. How is Nagad collaborating with other industries?
Tanvir A Mishuk: Collaboration with a wide range of services is the key for MFS industry. In our country, it’s a challenging job, but we are trying to make it as easy as possible in different forms. Our *167# is a superb example of collaboration in the industry, and without collaboration, it would be impossible to offer an easy account-opening process. If all other partners had a collaborative attitude or had been technologically more fit, it would have been much easier.
8. Nagad has seen tremendous growth during the pandemic. How is the company planning to keep the growth momentum in the coming years?
Tanvir A Mishuk: Nagad has maintained stellar growth from its inception and has been maintaining the pace from the beginning without any disruption. I hope we can keep this pace up with our well-planned move and time-demanding service offerings. To me, taking customers’ needs seriously is the top priority, and this attitude will help us to grow further.
9. How do you see Nagad in the future landscape?
Tanvir A Mishuk: We want to establish Nagad as the future national wallet that will help upgrade Bangladesh as a digital country perfectly. It is just a matter of time. After we get the approval from the banking regulators about our planned digital banking, users will get all the financial services at their fingertips.
10. What needs to be done if Bangladesh wants to prosper in the fintech space?
Tanvir A Mishuk: Future-centric policies are a must, along with the adoption of new technology and services. Changing mindset has to be there from both users’ and policy-makers’ perspectives. Users’ aspiration and desires need to be considered. If we keep these points in mind, they will help the sector to boom, accelerating overall digitalization.