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“Making Small Scale Savings Work” programme kicks off

​BRUSSELS, 4 October 2016 – "Making Small Scale Savings Work" project work has started as part of WSBI's new partnership with The MasterCard Foundation.

WSBI members in Kenya, Morocco and Uganda have received invitations to prepare proposals to deepen efforts to reach scale and sustainability with their low balance accounts.

An open call for proposals is expected to be launched around the end of October to banks in Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal, all within the overall aim to establish the viability of low balance savings accounts and use of customer-centric approaches to address barriers faced in access, usage and affordability of savings services.

WSBI-MasterCard Foundation Partnership

The kick-off of the project comes just two months after WSBI announced a new partnership with The MasterCard Foundation to help boost financial access and economic development in seven African countries. The Foundation has committed $16 million over 5½ years to enable at least one million people to open accounts at banks in Côte d'Ivoire Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal and Uganda.

Why it's important

Increased financial inclusion helps address poverty and helps promote social cohesion in communities as well as spur economic growth. Countries with high poverty rates coupled with financial exclusion – little or no access to basic banking services like savings accounts – can lead to low "formal", or bank-held, savings activity.

Banks in Sub-Saharan Africa struggle to close the gap. The lower-income segment is often misunderstood by institutions that try to serve them, and their needs are thus inadequately reflected in business models. The outcome is customer frustration, which can lead to dormant or inactive accounts – an added blow to bank costs and financial inclusion efforts.

Changing the banking model in Sub-Saharan Africa

The programme aims for high-impact results with participating banks in the region. WSBI plans to work with partners and institutions to harvest deeper insight about customers to build up more client-focused services while looking for ways to boost banks' trust level with them. The effort also looks to embed programme objectives into banks strategies with knock-on effects for culture change inside institutions, including a transition into continuous learning organisations. 

WSBI and financial inclusion

As the largest provider of accounts for the poor worldwide, WSBI and its members look for ways to tackle the financial inclusion challenge. Active in the global policy debate on setting an enabling environment for financial inclusion, WSBI drives the member commitment to its 2012 Marrakech Declaration, which calls on members to provide 'An Account for everyone'. Association members also pledged to reach 1.7 billion customers and 400 million new transaction accounts by the end of 2020 as their contribution to the World Bank Group's strategic goal of Universal Financial Access by 2020. WSBI announced last month that its members had exceeded projections on its commitment to the Universal Financial Access 2020 Goal both in terms of total numbers of customers as well as transaction accounts.

>> Learn more: The MasterCard Foundation

>> Visit: WSBI training and consultancy page

>> See the WSBI-MasterCard Foundation partnership announcement

Financial inclusion