I dedicated my young adult life to building XacBank, pronounced as [hos-bank], and I jokingly refer to it as “my baby.” It’s named after my two oldest sons, Hasar-Dashdorj and Hasbazar. I’m very proud of what I accomplished while leading Mongolia’s first non-bank microfinance company.
It started in 1999 as a small microfinance company, and by 2001 we became one of the 15 banks in Mongolia. By 2005, we started to become recognized globally. In 2007, Forbes named XacBank as one of the top 100 global microfinance institutions. We were also the first Mongolian bank to receive international ratings from Moody’s Investors Service. About a decade after I created XacBank, we were ranked number four.
There were many aspects of XacBank that set us apart. We were a leader in environmental and sustainable initiatives. We were the first to do carbon credits, and we were the largest funder of sustainable projects in Mongolia.
But XacBank was also different because I wanted to provide financial education to people. For example, we put together a toolkit for a global program to help teach families how to budget. Our staff would also go to local schools and teach children about money. On a personal level, I’ve always believed that it’s never too early to teach children about money. That’s why in 2002, we started the Future Millionaire savings program. As part of this program, parents could open bank accounts for their children as soon as they were born.
While CEO of XacBank, I also led the creation of an innovative technology that made branchless banking much easier for everyone in Mongolia. We were awarded $1M from the World Bank and worked with a French company on the product, which was called Amar. It was the first technology of its kind and linked clients’ phones, cellphones, and text messages to their bank accounts – allowing them to make payments from anywhere. It brought Mongolia into the world of mobile banking.
To this day, I’m always touched when I meet people whose parents set up a Future Millionaire account for them when they were born. These people have financial knowledge, and know the importance of savings, because they started young. I’ve also met those parents who opened their child’s Future Millionaire account almost two decades ago, and when I meet them, I feel like I helped make a difference in their child’s future.
When I started XacBank, I also made it a goal – and a promise – that every Mongolian citizen would have access to a bank account. The technology we created to make branchless banking more accessible had major impacts on the Mongolian people. In a country as big as Alaska, with a population of three million, a person can now have access to a bank account no matter where they live. Thanks to our innovative branchless banking technology, the average Mongolian now has three bank accounts – the highest number per person in the developing world.