Poor people have shown that they want and need savings and deposit accounts, and those that have access to them can use them well. However, servicing numerous small savings accounts is costly for financial institutions. Instead of using formal services, people often keep their savings somewhere in their home, place money with friends or family for safekeeping, invest in livestock or goods, or join a savings group. Informal savings play an important role in many people’s lives, although these channels can be more risky than formal savings accounts.
Technology, through the use of mobile payments, automatic teller machines, and agent networks, is helping to reduce the cost of collecting and servicing small deposit accounts. Banks are spared the obligation to directly service these small accounts, which makes them more cost effective for both client and provider.
In conjunction with better services through new channels, more research is needed to develop and market better tailored products and services. People want to save for their children’s education, to improve their communities, to cope with death and disaster, and to make themselves less vulnerable to unpredictable shocks. Providers need to better understand why and how people save and then develop products tailored to their needs.
What can you find in this Topic Hub?
Curated by FinDev editors, this Topic Hub offers you access to key resources contributed by organizations around the world who work on the topic of savings for financial inclusion. Our latest blogs and publications on this topic are featured here (in the Resources Tab above), and you can find a collection of papers, case studies and guides to explore further. When there are upcoming webinars, events and recent news on this topic, they will be featured in the Topic Hub as well, so make sure to come back regularly for the latest on this topic. Finally, we’ve selected some key additional resources, which are listed on the right here, where you can learn even more about this topic.
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Informal Savings Mechanisms (ISMs) have long been important to many people’s day-to-day money management across Africa. But as formal financial services become much more prevalent in the region, what will happen to these ISMs? Will they fall by the wayside as the digital revolution takes over?
The Gateway sat down with Sybil Chidiac of Grameen Foundation to discuss what works and what doesn't when tailoring savings groups to serve vulnerable populations.
News & Events
The latest news and upcoming events and training from the global financial inclusion community on this topic.