|Product / Service||UCASH|
|Category||G01. Local Brand|
|Entrant||GREY BANGLADESH Dhaka, BANGLADESH|
|Idea Creation||GREY BANGLADESH Dhaka, BANGLADESH|
|Media Placement||GREY BANGLADESH Dhaka, BANGLADESH|
|PR||GREY BANGLADESH Dhaka, BANGLADESH|
|Production||FILMY FEATURES Dhaka, BANGLADESH|
|Syed Gousul Alam||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Chief Creative Officer|
|Abu Sayed Mohammad Nurur Rahman||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Group Creative Director|
|Mohammad Akrum Hossain||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Senior Creative Director|
|Shariful Islam||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Associate Creative Director|
|Md. Tauhidul Azam||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Associate Creative Director|
|Nurul Islam Bhuiyan||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Creative Supervisor Art|
|Waleed K. Rajamiya||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Senior Copywriter|
|Md. Rafiqul Islam||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Senior Copywriter|
|Bitop Das Gupta||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Planning Director|
|Md. Fahim Khan||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Senior Manager Strategic Planning|
|Syed Mohammad Tariq||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Executive Director|
|Md. Abdullah Al Kafi||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||AVP, Media, PR & Digital|
|Jihad Bin Tahzeeb||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Group Account Manager|
|Nuhash Anjum Khan||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Senior Account Executive|
|Manami Sunjia Hossain||Grey Advertising Bangladesh Limited||Project Co-ordinator|
This work involves rural farmers who don’t have access to formal financial system due to having insufficient fund. So, banks don’t come across as approachable and accessible to this segment. This campaign addresses that issue and makes the bank both accessible and approachable with tailor-made idea according to their reality and by going to their doorsteps. United Commercial Bank (UCB), one of the largest banks in Bangladesh, has partnered with Shwapno, the largest retail chain, to bring these farmers under financial inclusion by directly reaching out to them and transforming their lives.
The paradox about Bangladesh is that it has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world with half of its adults remaining financially excluded. Lack of sufficient fund, high cost of financial transaction and lack of banks’ dedication to offer diversified services are seen to be the major roadblocks for greater financial inclusion. Hence, they remain as the futile long-tail for the banks. In Bangladesh, agriculture is the largest employment sector and most of the unbanked population are farmers by profession, living in the rural areas. So, the 36 million farmers are the financial outcasts who are living off the land, and without the ability to access credit, save, and secure their future. United Commercial Bank (UCB), one of the biggest banks in Bangladesh, decided to bring a change in their outlook about the financially excluded ones and make the banking facilities approachable and accessible for them.
The unbanked farmers don’t have enough cash to go to banks, but they grow fresh produce which are often yielded more than needed. However, the excess produce is more when it comes to individual families but insignificant to sell in the wholesale market. Therefore, those are generally sold at unfairly low prices where the middlemen get benefited the most. So, we thought of solving both the issues i.e. lack of funds for the farmers and getting unfair prices for the excess produce, through one idea – AgroBanking. AgroBanking is the world’s first gumption to transform fresh fruits and vegetables into bank accounts. It allows farmers to open micro savings accounts in exchange for their produce. The initiative is designed to enable farmers to build credit histories, amass savings and eventually become eligible for other benefits like loans.
AgroBanking is that two-party platform where the currency to deposit into bank accounts is not hard cash, rather it’s the fresh produce. To convert the fresh produce into money, Shwapno, the largest retail chain was collaborated with, who already sources fresh produce from the marginal growers. So, the intent was to keep the implementation completely real. Hence, it was decided to introduce the solution amidst the farmers in real locations and see their responses. The expectation was to get spontaneous response from the farmers as it’s meant to transform their lives in the coming days. If the lives of few hundred farmers can change in the initial phase of implementation, imagine how big the news can be looking at the potential of it in changing the lives of 36 million unbanked farmers.
The implementation was recorded and uploaded on the social media pages of UCB and Shwapno. The expectation was to get traction on social media which will also get the attention of media.
The idea was quickly picked up by media. In the first few weeks, the initiative generated 50+ media impressions, garnering coverage worth of 1.5 million dollars with zero spending. It also generated highly positive conversations on social media about the potential of this concept to reduce poverty. Though the project was initially launched in 5 centers in one village, 115 more villages are showing interest and requesting UCB and Shwapno to start AgroBanking at their villages as well. So far the project has been implemented in 5 villages, with approximately 3,900 new bank accounts, and will soon be implemented in 9 more.
The marginal producers produce the vegetables and fruits in limited area of lands and in smaller quantity which is not sufficient to be sold in the wholesale market. Also due to limitation in the storage facility, they are time-bound to sell their perishable produce. The middlemen take advantage of this situation and buy the produce a lesser price. This impacts their income level and they stay stuck in a vicious circle of poverty. Due to the lesser amount of income, they can’t afford banking services and in time of need they have to take loans at an extremely high interest rate from informal sources. Here’s where AgroBanking makes a difference. Farmers now can access to banking services without cash and also get fair price for their fresh produce. So, the idea doesn’t tell the farmers to go out of their way, rather it turns their limitations into opportunity for them.