Early Success Stories in Meeting Client Needs
This paper discusses strategies that have been used in developing countries over the past 40 years to encourage the poor to utilize savings products. It illustrates points with examples from the experiences of financial institutions that have had success as indicated by their size, services, and outreach.
Institutions that have had the most success are those with strong management and leadership. They are committed to serving the mass market and focus explicitly on poor clients. This is demonstrated by the products and services they offer, where they are located, and the way in which they treat their customers. They are also profitable institutions and many have had government or donor support as they grow. The paper lists banks and credit unions that have figured out key factors in providing savings products to the poor and meeting their unique needs. These factors vary depending upon the institution and the environment in which they operate but those consistently cited as important to convincing poor people to put their money into bank accounts are:
- Security, privacy, and trust;
- Convenience and proximity;
- Simplicity and liquidity options;
- Returns and marketing.