Embracing the Future: Digital Transformation Journey 

Publish: 8:37 PM, August 10, 2023 | Update: 8:37 PM, August 10, 2023

Md. Tawfiqul Islam : In recent years, the world has witnessed a rapid transformation in the banking sector, with the emergence of digital banking revolutionizing the way financial services are delivered. Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB) has been at the forefront of this change, implementing digital banking solutions to enhance services to farmers and Marginalized people.

The Genesis of RAKUB

Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank is a state-owned specialized bank in Bangladesh, a specialized financial institution for financing the farmers and Marginalized people of the 16 districts of Rajshahi and Rangpur. The headquarters of the bank is in Rajshahi. Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB) was established by the President’s Ordinance No. 58 of 1986 (later replaced by ‘Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank Act, 2014’). It received 253 branches of Bangladesh Krishi Bank in Rangpur and Rajshahi Division. Total number of branches of the bank now reached 383 with 40 lac clients. By leveraging digital technology, RAKUB has not only streamlined its operations but has also empowered farmers and Marginalized people with efficient and accessible financial services, fostering agricultural growth and rural development. This article explores the successful implementation of digital banking and its profound impact on the services provided by RAKUB to farmers and marginalized people of the mentioned region.

Digital Banking: A Paradigm Shift in Financial Services

Digital banking represents the convergence of banking services with digital technology, offering customers convenient access to financial products and transactions through online platforms and mobile applications. This shift from traditional banking to digital banking has led to several key advantages:

Convenience: Farmers can now access their accounts, make transactions, and avail banking services anytime, anywhere, without the need to visit physical bank branches.

Efficiency: Digital banking streamlines processes, reducing paperwork and processing times, thereby improving the speed and accuracy of financial services.

Financial Inclusion: By embracing digital banking, RAKUB has expanded its reach to previously unbanked and underserved farmers, promoting financial inclusion and empowerment.

Real-Time Updates: Farmers receive real-time updates on account balances, transactions, and loan statuses, enabling them to stay informed and make informed financial decisions.

Integration with Other Services: Digital banking can be integrated with other digital platforms and services, such as fintech apps, payment gateways, and online shopping platforms, providing a seamless and interconnected financial ecosystem.

RAKUB’s Digital Banking Initiatives for Farmers and Clients

RAKUB has embraced digital banking initiatives to enhance the banking experience for farmers and clients, ensuring that they have access to tailored financial services that cater to their unique needs:

Mobile Banking: RAKUB offers mobile banking services that allow farmers and clients to manage their accounts, and make payments through their smartphones. This has proven particularly beneficial for farmers in rural areas with limited physical access to bank branches

Online Account Opening: Farmers and clients can now open their account from home by using E-KYC through RAKUB’s digital platform. This streamlined process has reduced paperwork and turnaround time, enabling farmers to access credit quickly and efficiently.

E-Payments: With digital banking, RAKUB has introduced electronic payment options such as EFTN, RTGS, and Automated Challan. Moreover, enabling farmers to make cashless transactions like QR code based checkless transactions for agricultural inputs, reducing the risks associated with carrying large amounts of cash.

Real-Time Account Updates: Through real-time updates, RAKUB ensures that farmers and clients have access to the most current information about their accounts, transactions, and loan status, fostering transparency and financial control.

Financial Education: RAKUB utilizes its digital platform to provide financial literacy resources to farmers and clients, educating them about responsible money management, investment options, and risk mitigation.

Impact on Farmers and Rural Development

The successful implementation of digital banking initiatives by RAKUB has had a profound impact on farmers and rural development:

Improved Access to Credit: Farmers and clients now have greater access to credit, enabling them to invest in modern agricultural practices, purchase high-quality seeds, and acquire modern machinery, ultimately leading to increased productivity.

Enhanced Financial Management: Real-time updates and financial literacy resources have empowered farmers and clients to make well-informed financial decisions, reducing the risks of over borrowing and debt.

Increased Agricultural Productivity: With timely access to credit and inputs, farmers have experienced improved agricultural productivity, leading to higher crop yields and better income.

Sustainable Rural Development: The adoption of digital banking has resulted in the overall development of rural communities, supporting economic growth and sustainable livelihoods.

The implementation of digital banking by RAKUB has proven to be a game-changer for farmers and rural development. By embracing digital technology, RAKUB has enhanced the accessibility and efficiency of financial services, promoting financial inclusion, and empowering farmers with the tools they need to thrive. The success story of RAKUB stands as a shining example of how digital banking can revolutionize the agricultural sector, contribute to rural development, and uplift the lives of farmers and rural clients. As digital banking continues to evolve, RAKUB remains committed to leveraging technology for the benefit of farmers, ensuring a brighter and more prosperous future for agriculture in the region.Behind the success of RAKUB’s digital transformation the visionaries are the Honorable Chairman of RAKUB Board of Directors, Managing Director and Senior Management of RAKUB.Besides, the tireless efforts of RAKUB’s ICT Department and the sincere support of the officers and employees are the key driving force of walking the path ofRAKUB’s digital transformation.

The writer is Manager, Santahar Branch of Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB)& Data Analyst