Providing affordable banking services to a
billion of the world’s poorest people by 2018 may appear to be a
wildly optimistic objective but it is one US mobile payments
technology developer Obopay believes is attainable.
To attain this goal, Obopay has partnered with
Grameen Solutions, a Bangladesh-based diversified technology
company, to launch the Grameen-Obopay Bank A Billion
Particularly significant is Obopay’s
partnership with Grameen Solutions, part of a sprawling group of
profit and non-profit companies founded by Muhammad Yunus, winner
of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2006 for his work in improving
living standards of the poor.
One of Yunus’ most notable achievements was the
establishment of Grameen Bank, a micro-loan specialist with more
than 2,500 branches and 7.5 million customers in Bangladesh. The
concept of providing banking services to the unbanked is also close
to the heart of Obopay founder and CEO Carol Realini. Realini holds
a master’s degree in computer science and has also been closely
involved in development and aid initiatives in Africa.
“I was inspired to found Obopay when I was
volunteering in Africa and saw that while people in remote corners
of the world often lacked access to the most basic financial
services, they almost all had mobile phones,” explained
“We are thrilled to embark on a partnership
with Grameen Solutions, and look forward to working with them to
bring truly powerful mobile banking services to people everywhere,”
she added.
Obopay and Grameen have set a tight schedule
for the project and working initially from Bangladesh and Mumbai,
India, where Obopay has an operating unit, anticipate delivering
the first services in October this year. Mobile services envisaged
include cross-border remittances, money transfers, payments,
savings and credit accounts.