BNBLโ€™s Ngotsab โ€“ taking banking services closer to people

The bank has around 243 agents dispersed across theย country

When the ATMs of the Bhutan National Bank Limited (BNBL) didnโ€™t work, a resident of Bebena in Thimphu, Thinley Wangmo, reminisces about going all the way to the branch office to withdraw money.

However, this has changed currently with the Ngotsab initiative launched by the bank in November 2019.

โ€œWe are able to withdraw cash anytime today and anywhere,โ€ says a joyous Thinley Wangmo.

BNBL launched the BNBL Ngotsab โ€“ a sort of mini banks in the communities that provide the convenience of banking. 

The initiative was to bring banking closer to peopleโ€™s doorsteps through the BNBLโ€™s network of authorized agents that provide services for basic banking.

The scheme, according to the bank, has benefited customers who are not able to visit bank branches and in few cases where bank branches are located afar.

The banking scheme, meanwhile, has also benefited the businesses of authorized agents.

The owner of ST Mart in Taba said people who withdraw cash from her usually end up purchasing items from her shop.

Within the first few weeks, the shopkeeper has made about 200-230 deposits and 300-350 withdrawals.

She added that customers preferred the service especially when it came to withdrawal.

Meanwhile, the bank offers a flat fee to the authorized agents in response to the transactions. The more transactions he/she makes, the more income he/she earns.

BNBLโ€™s Chief Operation Officer Hem Kumar Acharya said the main target of Ngotsab is to have BNBL all over the country and make it convenient for individuals with banking transactions.

โ€œOur goal is to have at least one Ngotsab in each gewog, especially in those areas where there is no full-fledged branch office such as in Punakha,โ€ he said.

Hem Kumar Acharya said one of the highlights of the Ngotsab is that people can use any sorts of cards like BoBL, BDBL, Visa card etc. to do transactions.

โ€œIt is not exclusive to BNBL only.โ€

 Currently, BNBL has more than five Ngotsabs in every Dzongkhag.

With 32 Ngotsabs, Thimphu has the highest number of agents.

Apart from withdrawals and deposits, agents, meanwhile, also offer services such as tax, utility bills, and loan payments, and top-up for B-Mobile and TashiCell users.

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu