Financial Inclusion Challenge Winners Recognized at Ceremony in Hong Kong

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Financial Inclusion Challenge Winners Recognized at Ceremony in Hong Kong

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Winners of @MetLife's #Financialinclusion Challenge innovate to improve financial access for the poor
Friday, September 11, 2015 - 9:15am

CAMPAIGN: Financial Inclusion

CONTENT: Press Release

HONG KONG, September 11, 2015 /3BL Media/ - On April 15, 2015, MetLife Foundation announced its exclusive sponsorship of “The Financial Inclusion Challenge,” in partnership with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The Challenge is a global project launched in Asia to recognize innovative, sustainable, scalable and impactful strategies that help the financially disadvantaged.

Both nonprofit and for-profit enterprises were invited to submit proposals that showcased their solutions to the problems of financial access for the poor. A panel of independent, expert judges scored submissions from 14 countries, and selected one overall winner across three categories: education, technology, operational effectiveness. The public was also invited to vote for a “People’s Choice Winner” from among the finalists. These winners were recognised at an awards ceremony in Hong Kong on Tuesday 8 September.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chris Townsend, president of Asia, MetLife, and a board member of MetLife Foundation, highlighted the need for initiatives like this in Asia; “An estimated 1.2 billion people in Asia, nearly 30% of the region’s population, still do not have access to bank accounts or other formal financial services.  The region remains home to two-thirds of the world’s poor, with over 800 million Asians still living on less than $1.25 a day and there is strong evidence pointing to deteriorating income equality in recent years,” said Townsend, “In today’s increasingly interconnected world, linked by ever growing financial flows, more than a third of the global population is still financially excluded. It is an economic and a moral imperative that we reach them and empower them.”

The Challenge, which capitalized on a robust multi-media platform with social and digital channels, has sparked conversations on twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. In addition, WSJ Custom Studios and MetLife Foundation built the Multipliers of Prosperity hub, which is rich with information and resources on the topic of financial inclusion, has posted over 20 in-depth articles to share stories about financial inclusion with global audience. The program content was also tweeted amongst social media influencers.

“In the Financial Inclusion Challenge, we wanted to support ventures in Asia doing innovative work to advance financial inclusion,” said Dennis White, president and chief executive officer of MetLife Foundation, “And by curating Multipliers of Prosperity we have created a platform to share information, promote discussion and share stories on what’s working and what’s not, in order to stimulate further progress in this critical area."

MetLife Foundation currently has 40 ongoing projects distributed across Asia with $27 million in committed grants, underpinning a strong tradition of community and social investments in the markets in which it operates.

Winners of the Financial Inclusion Challenge

Education: Going to School   
Based in New Delhi, the nonprofit group teaches low-income children about financial literacy through books, short films and radio shows in New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai

Technology: Shanghai F-road Commercial Services
he organization helps banks provide customers with mobile banking services through secured smart-chips called SIM-overlay cards. This service is particularly helpful in China’s rural villages because it works on basic phones by using SMS channels that can reach areas with weak data signals.

Operational Effectiveness: Kiva       
Started in 2005, Kiva and its global community of lenders has crowdfunded more than US$705 million in microloans to more than 1.6 million entrepreneurs in 86 countries, all the while maintaining a 98% repayment rate.

The People’s Choice: Telenor Pakistan        
Telenor Pakistan collaborated with Tameer Micro Finance Bank in 2009 to launch a mobile banking service called Easypaisa. It has more than 60,000 retail outlets across Pakistan and offers financial services including savings programs and health insurance to about six million people.

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Keywords: Awards & Recognition | Business & Trade | Corporate Social Responsibility | Education | Finance & Socially Responsible Investment | Financial Inclusion | Financial Inclusion Challenge | MetLife | Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship | metlife foundation

CAMPAIGN: Financial Inclusion

CONTENT: Press Release