• Saturday, Jun 25, 2022
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MFS arena heats up as Nagad unveils Rahel Ahmed as CEO

  • Published at 03:15 am February 8th, 2021
Nagad at a glance

Turning Nagad into the leading payments company in Bangladesh through introduction of cutting-edge business solutions is Ahmed's key priority

Nagad has announced Rahel Ahmed, previously the managing director and chief executive officer of Prime Bank, as its CEO, in a move that speaks of the ambition of the digital financial service arm of the Bangladesh Post Office.

Ahmed had resigned from Prime Bank in December last year, just a few days before the expiry of his three-year contract as the chief of the lender.

At that time, Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune that he was stepping down to take on a new challenge.

The challenge, it now appears, is to take Nagad to the pinnacle of the mobile financial services landscape, where bkash rules the roost, and to fend off competition from new entrant Trust Axiata Pay, a venture of Trust Bank and Malaysian telecommunications conglomerate Axiata Group, whose main focus would be wallet-based services.

“It took me quite a long time to decide -- it was a risky move, no doubt,” Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.

But the leg up that the pandemic provided to the platform nudged him to this direction.

“The future is very much in this -- digital banking is the future of financial service, so why not be part of the journey?” 

The shift to MFS from conventional banking, where has spent more than two decades, would entail quite “the learning curve” for Ahmed, who holds an MBA degree from the Maastricht School of Business in the Netherlands.

At Nagad, he plans to make financial services as easy and convenient as possible for the end-users.

“We are already doing 50 per cent of the work of a bank.”

Nagad though planning to open a digital bank, where retail banking services would be delivered through the internet or other forms of electronic channels instead of physical branches.

It has opened talks with the Bangladesh Bank for a licence to set up a digital bank.

Ahmed, who held important positions at the Emirates Islamic Bank and First Gulf Bank PJSC in the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2014, is not too optimistic that the licence will come anytime soon as there are not too many precedents in Asia. Even then, he is excited by the prospects that the current MFS landscape holds.

“While at the conventional bank, I would think that having half a million customers is a big deal. But at MFS, we are looking 40-50 million customers, which is just huge. The opportunities that we have, the landscape is too huge,” he added.

Tanvir Ahmed Mishuk, the managing director of Nagad, said Ahmed’s addition will give the company “a wider vision, a much fiercer mindset and a much more faithful journey towards financial inclusion”.

“It is a powered collaboration of MFS and a person who has been the forefront innovator in Bangladesh's banking scene with 26-plus years of experience, one who contributed to financial inclusion, wholesale and retail banking, and one who has expertise in all sorts of banking -- Islamic, conventional, large scale, mid-scale and so on.”

Nagad experienced “a phenomenal 2020” and there is no doubt that the current year is set to be more phenomenal, Mishuk told Dhaka Tribune.

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