Bangladesh Bank is set to expand digital banking, aiming to establish a 100 % branchless banking system. This move follows significant progress in mobile financial services, internet banking, and the growth of digital-first customers in Bangladesh. The central bank issued comprehensive guidelines for digital banks, receiving 52 applications, with Nagad Digital Bank and Kori Digital Bank obtaining letters of intent. Three bank-led applicants, Bank Asia-led Digital, BRAC Bank-led bKash Digital Bank, and Digi10, are granted permission, while Smart Digital Bank, Japan Bangla Digital Bank, and North East Digital Bank await letters of intent.
Digital banks are expected to enhance financial inclusion, accelerate cashless transactions, and bridge the gap in reaching unbanked populations, particularly in rural areas. The global digital banking market is rapidly growing, with an estimated 450 million customers using digital-only banks across 28 surveyed countries. Worldwide, digital banks offer various financial products and services, leveraging technology for a more accessible and user-friendly banking experience. The global digital bank market is projected to reach $822 billion in net interest income by 2024, with an annual growth rate of 10.34 % through 2028.
Digital banks in Bangladesh aim to cater to the tech-savvy new generation, providing services round the clock and aligning with evolving consumer lifestyles. While industry experts see vast potential for digital banks in Bangladesh, they acknowledge the need for substantial technology investments and anticipate the gradual profitability of digital banking, especially in catering to small and medium-sized entrepreneurs seeking lower interest rates.