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Central bankers in Bermuda discussing fintech framework

Central bankers agree on fin-tech framework to bring banking to people without accounts

3 February 2020

Commonwealth central bankers have created a technical framework that will improve access to cheaper, faster and more efficient banking for people without bank accounts.

If put into use, the framework could benefit more than 1.2 billion Commonwealth people who are not connected to the formal banking sector.

Fin-tech framework

Last week, central bankers met in Bermuda to learn from countries that have used financial technology hubs to create the framework with the help of academics from Oxford University.

The fin-tech framework will help member countries avoid common mistakes and recommend the necessary laws, regulations and incentives needed to stimulate growth in fin-tech.

Fin-tech has been growing faster than any other segment of the tech industry, reaching the global market value of about $127 billion in 2018.

The framework is a core part of the Commonwealth’s fin-tech toolkit, which will be launched at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in June this year.

Governments will be able to access the toolkit via multiple channels including papers, videos and blogs. There will also benefit from capacity-building programmes such as tailored technical assistance and online fin-tech courses.

Speaking at the meeting, Bermuda’s Premier, David Burt, said: “We have been working diligently to build a technology-friendly ecosystem that would support and encourage innovation, and we are happy to share our story with our colleagues from around the world.   

“Building financial freedom is consistent with the goals of the Commonwealth, which is to achieve financial inclusion and improve the quality of lives of those who are less fortunate, in whichever of the countries they may be.”

Fin-tech initiatives in Commonwealth countries

During the meeting, central bankers from 10 countries presented their experiences in developing fin-tech initiatives, which include:

  • The Bahamas’ digital sand dollar that allows citizens and businesses to access money in remote, cash-dependent and disaster-affected areas;
  • The UK’s expertise on building a cybersecurity framework for a resilient financial infrastructure; and
  • The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s new digital currency that reduces transaction costs and offers secure and resilient digital payments.

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Arjoon Suddhoo said: “Once our fin-tech toolkit is completed, we hope it will set forth smart and pragmatic guidance that governments, regulators and industry can use to think about and engage with to stimulate and sustain the growth of the fin-tech industry.”    

The Commonwealth and the Government of Bermuda hosted the two-day meeting in Hamilton from 29-30 January.