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Advancing Savings Services: Resource Guide for Funders

What is the role of microfinance funders in promoting savings?
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This technical guide discusses issues that funders need to consider when focusing on voluntary savings mobilization. It is meant as a reference document for donors who are involved in designing, implementing, and monitoring programs to improve poor people’'s access to savings services.

Saving is a crucial component of poor people’s economic well-being and supporting savings mobilization is an essential building block to building inclusive financial systems. Most of the world’s poor, however, still lack access to formal savings services. Factors that contribute to this scarcity in supply include institution-level constraints, inadequate infrastructure and regulatory barriers.

Promoting savings mobilization is primarily about capacity building across all levels of the financial system, from a funders’ perspective. It is also about strategically placed equity and debt into financial service providers able to deliver savings services to poor people. The guide:

  • Makes the case for advancing savings mobilization from the perspective of both the client and the financial institution;
  • Summarizes the state of knowledge about savings services;
  • Offers ideas for what funders can do to support savings services, including actions directly related to client demand, institutional supply, intermediation and enabling environment;
  • Provides a bibliography of resources on savings services for poor people.