WSBI, PostBank Uganda to boost financial inclusion services in rural areas

WSBI, PostBank Uganda to boost financial inclusion services in rural areas

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

BRUSSELS, 23 February 2018 – PostBank Uganda (Hereafter PBU) and WSBI recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to scale up Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) business model in the East African country.

Falling under WSBI’s Scale2Save programme supported by the MasterCard Foundation, the bank will look to financially include at least 200,000 new small individual savers by 2020. Forty per cent of new savers will be youth, while women will make up just over a third. A quarter of new savers will be farmers.

​PBU Managing Director Mr. Mukweli Stephen, said. “To reach our goal we will need to improve access. That requires us to initially select and pilot 480 agents, including five VSLA agents in the first year. We foresee that figure growing to 1260 agents, including 15 VSLA agents, during the scale up phase in subsequent years.”

​PBU will build on the capacity of 20 already mature VSLAs community groups to serve customers as agents within communities through already established linkages. Those mature VSLA group agents will be selected from within the pilot areas. Selecting VSLA group agents, who will come from selected communities, will be based on maturity. That means VSLA group agents will be screened for financial capacity and transaction history, commitment to development and growth efforts, the PBU Group’s executive team’s capabilities and history among other criteria guided by the Ugandan central bank for agency compliance.

WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose said: “PBU can now roll out agency banking upon approval from the central bank. That is thanks to the Financial Institutions (Amendment) Act, 2016 that was passed by the Ugandan parliament to allow financial institutions to provide agency banking, among others. Agency banking will be a game changer, helping PBU acquire new customers, especially in the rural hard to reach areas of the country.”

The Ugandan agency banking rules allow PBU to have full end-to-end ownership of the distribution channel, which means the postal bank no longer need to rely on the Mobile Network Operators outside of communication services. It also means a more competitive banking landscape, where service quality will get a boost and pricing more attractive for customers.

The project has many innovative elements too, including a youth APP to particularly address young savers and an e-recording tool designed to help better understand financial and social behaviour of VSLA members and whether products are suitable for small-scale savers.

PBU’s Mr. Mukweli Stephen concluded: “WSBI support matters a lot as we move towards our PBU inclusion strategy. Their support will help us bring into the financial mainstream hundreds of thousands of customers and transform many VSLA’s groups into agents. That will help our country both now and in years to come.”

Contacts:

James Pieper, WSBI-ESBG, on +32 2 211 1192 or at james.pieper@wsbi-esbg.org

Jackie Tahakanizibwa Kwesiga, PostBank Uganda LTD, on +256 417157200 or at jackie.tahakanizibwa@postbank.co.ug

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Notes to editors:

About VSLA’s: Village Savings and Loan Associations

VSLAs are a way to give access to basic banking services for people living in mostly poverty-stricken areas where financial institutions oftentimes cannot reach. VSLA provide group of individuals in a close geographic area a place to save their money and access to lending products. They also serve as an entry point to formal financial services.

​About PostBank Uganda

PBU’s strategic direction is to be the financial institution of choice for the mass market with emphasis on the micro and small players in small-micro business, and along the agriculture value chain.

PBU is a Credit Taking Financial Institution regulated by the Central Bank, and has been in existence since 1926. It started out as a Department in the Uganda Post Office, and was incorporated as an independent Financial Institution in February 1998 in accordance to the Communications Act of 1997 to take over the operations of the former Post Office Savings Department. It has since grown from a Pass Book based operation, use of Smart Saver Cards, to an easy do-it-yourself (DIY) customer-centric Bank with Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) linked to customer accounts, and digitally enhanced mobile phone banking technology running on both low-cost USSD and Internet Apps. The Bank also has technologically enhanced mobile filed payment services using mobile banking vehicles that extend financial services to unbanked, underserved rural communities, with a specific focus on marginalized segments like the youth and women.

​Currently, PBU has 41 brick and mortar branches, 80% located in rural areas more than 80 kilometres from the capital city, 13 Contact Centres/Service Outlets located in the rural areas of Bugembe, Sironko, Manafwa, Kyazanga, Rushere, Ibanda, Bundibugyo, Hima, Butogota, Kihihi, Amuru, Maracha, Kamdini and most recently in Kagadi, 10 mobile banking vehicles extending financial services and field payments to rural hard-to-reach areas, a secure mobile phone banking platform giving customers unlimited access to their accounts, and a total of 56 ATMs across its branch and Contact Centre network, linked to over 423 InterSwitch member partner banks ATMs to allow customers cost effective access to their accounts. As at end December 2017, PBU had 968,631 customers, 80% being rural based and 836 permanent staff.

About the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI)

WSBI represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $15 trillion and serving some 1.3 billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2016). WSBI focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the aims of the G20 in achieving sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth, and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries. WSBI favours an inclusive form of globalization that is just and fair, supporting international efforts to advance financial access and financial usage for everyone.

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COFINA Senegal signs MoU with WSBI

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

BRUSSELS, 5 September 2018 – More than 50,000 low-income Senegalese women will gain access to basic financial services like savings thanks to a new tech-savvy project by COFINA Senegal and WSBI as part of the Mastercard Foundation-funded programme Scale2Save to help small-scale savings work​.

Outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations, African financing company COFINA will partner with MaTontine, a fintech enterprise focused on reducing poverty through the widespread adoption of digital financial services, targeting traditional savings groups in French-speaking Africa – commonly known as “tontine”.

COFINA Senegal Chief Executive Officer Amadou Boudia Gueye said: “The project will enable disadvantaged low-income segments of the population, especially women, to acquire a stable culture of saving and give them an easier access to lending and other services through the use of new technology.”

The project aims to conduct all the tontines’ financial transactions digitally via mobile phones through the MaTontine platform. In addition, COFINA will facilitate access to small loans – packaged as advances on earnings – and other financial services to the individual members of the traditional savings groups. By 2022, the project foresees women making up 90 per cent of the more than 48,000 active customers signed up. More than 24,000 small loans will be granted during that period and savings collected reaching US$429,000. ​​The project also aims to build up people’s mindset towards savings and provide a pathway to access small loans and beyond, including microinsurance.

Financial inclusion challenge in Senegal, especially for women

There is huge potential to widen inclusion in Senegal, home to some 15 million inhabitants. Just 15 percent of the population aged 15 years or older have an account at a financial institution, according to the latest FINDEX data. That figure is lower for women at 11 per cent in the same age bracket, a demographic that comprises some 5.5 million people and a literacy rate of 46.6 per cent versus 69.7 per cent for men. That will mean creative approaches through mobile accounts, which today has a market take up of only six per cent of the total 15+ population. Appetite for savings is high, with 59 per cent of that same segment saving money in some form. Only 6.6 per cent of whom squirrel it away at a bank or other deposit-taking financial institution.

WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose said: “The project is important because it helps lower the financial inclusion barrier that women face thanks to COFINA’s gender-based approach. It will lift women’s lives in urban and rural areas living on less than US$5 dollars a day who face generally more exclusion than men.”

The pilot phase will begin immediately in two areas of the Dakar region.

Notes to editors:

​About COFINA

COFINA’s mission is to create added value for our partners and participate sustainably in the development of the African continent. Founded in 2014, COFINA Senegal has a network of seven branches, 40 Cash Points and 200 sub-agents. Its ambition is to expand nationwide. Its customer portfolio revolves around 47,407 customers made up of small- and medium-sized businesses, young people, women, private individuals and start-ups. In four years, COFINA Senegal has carved out a leading position in the Senegalese financial services market with a 15% share of the microfinance institution (MFI) market.

COFINA’s strategic priorities until 2022 are to strengthen human resources and technological capabilities; simplify our organisation to achieve efficiency; enhance close relationships with our customers and regulators; and double the customer portfolio (individuals) in Senegal to 100,000 customers.

About Groupe COFINA

Groupe COFINA comprises six microfinance institutions branded as Cofina Sénégal, Cofina Guinée, Crédit Solidaire du Gabon, Compagnie Africaine de Crédit en Côte d’Ivoire, Cofina Mali and Cofina Congo. This network aims to develop financial solutions to boost SMEs and entrepreneurs and do so in a secure way to nourish business projects by the middle-class population. Groupe COFINA is also specialised in meso-finance, with the goal of being the reference pan-African financial inclusion model and driving the continent’s sustainable development efforts with maximum social impact.

About WSBI, the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute

WSBI represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $15 trillion and serving some 1.3 billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2016). WSBI focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the aims of the G20 in achieving sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth, and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries. WSBI favours an inclusive form of globalization that is just and fair, supporting international efforts to advance financial access and financial usage for everyone.​

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Morocco’s Al Barid Bank signs MoU with WSBI to make small scale savings work

Morocco’s Al Barid Bank signs MoU with WSBI to make small scale savings work

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

BRUSSELS, 25 October 2017 – Morocco's Al Barid Bank and WSBI this month signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a digitally focused postal savings bank to drive greater financial inclusion.

Falling under WSBI’s Scale2Save programme supported by the Mastercard Foundation, Al Barid Bank in Morocco will launch the new project this month to start to digitise government-to-person (G2P) payments and develop a mobile payment ecosystem to cover the entire electronic payment value chain, which includes individual customers, traders and suppliers.

Mr. Redouane Najm-Eddine, Chief Executive of Al Barid Bank said: “The project fits into part of our overall strategy to target rural areas where the bank will offer specific packages to G2P beneficiaries and/or their families. The specific end-user offer features a package consisting of an e-wallet and a remunerated savings account that can be accessed from the mobile.”

In addition, Al Barid Bank will equip traders with payment solutions if needed. In this way, the beneficiaries of these services will be able to buy essential products from traders of commodity goods like milk, sugar and flour. The selected fast-moving consumer goods will be tagged with the retail payment module, allowing traders to pay for their deliveries electronically.

WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose said: “The project aims to reach 250,000 new customers who will benefit from the digital G2P payments. At least half of them who will open a savings account at the bank. By the end of the project, Al Barid Bank foresees having equipped 2000 new traders and the entire value chain with the Barid Bank Mobile product.”

Pilot preparation starts this month with a scheduled implementation start date in January 2018.

Notes to editors:

​About Al Barid Bank

Al Barid Bank is a subsidiary of the Barid al Maghrib group and began its banking activities in 2010. The bank has now developed a large network with over 1,800 branches and aims to be the bank for all Moroccans with a strategic purpose to expand the number of people in the financial mainstream. As of year-end 2014, the bank had 5.9 million clients and US $4.79 billion in assets.

About the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute

WSBI represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $14tn and serving one billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2014). WSBI focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the aims of the G20 in achieving sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth, and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries. WSBI favours an inclusive form of globalization that is just and fair, supporting international efforts to advance financial access and financial usage for everyone. Learn more.

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Advans Cote d’Ivoire, WSBI sign MoU to boost savings for smallholder farmers

Advans Cote d’Ivoire, WSBI sign MoU to boost savings for smallholder farmers

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

BRUSSELS, 6 July 2018 - Advans Côte d’Ivoire and WSBI this week signed a memorandum of understanding to tackle financial inclusion in Ivorian organised value chains, with a focus on small-scale cocoa farmers. Falling under WSBI's ​Scale2Save programme supported by the Mastercard Foundation, Advans aims to build on the current branchless banking offer to scale-up  digital-based crop payments for farmers so that traders / cooperatives can pay farmers directly on a savings account.

Advans Côte d’Ivoire’s Chief Executive Officer Gaël Briot said: “Advans aims to serve over 120,000 rural clients at the end of four years. To do this, we want to provide them with the most adapted delivery channels for rural zones – namely mobile banking and agency banking.”

The project also plans to develop a full range of products and services for farmers including micro-insurance, loans and savings accounts. The farmers will also be trained on financial literacy to encourage them to save.

Gaël Briot added: “Having access to financial services will enable these clients to reinforce their incomes, improve their financial security and stability, and give them the capacity and tools to better manage their household finances. This will impact indirectly 720,000 people in rural areas.”

​Ivoirian farmers and financial inclusion

Advans chose to focus on rural clients in Cote d’Ivoire, and cocoa clients especially, because this target market is important to the country’s economic and social development but remains largely unserved by financial service providers. Some 800,000 small-scale cocoa farmers contribute up to 10% of the in Côte d’Ivoire’s gross domestic product. Around 6 million people are indirectly dependent on cocoa revenues.

More than four-fifths (86%) of smallholders own a personal mobile phone, which is an asset on which financial service providers can rely on to develop appropriate delivery channels. Some cooperatives have savings schemes for farmers to encourage them to put money aside rather than borrow, but they keep these savings in cash and take on the risk. They do not necessarily have a clear register of farmers’ withdrawals. Other farmers use traditional banks in the nearest town, but have to travel to get there, or have a mobile wallet with a limited savings amount.

​WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose said: “With this project, Advans aims to tackle past challenges financial services providers have faced in widening financial services take-up by rural people. Innovation will be key in the project so as to shorten customer sign-up delays, better address certain barriers to opening accounts – especially the biometric ID card requirement – as well as capitalising on the potential of mobile banking.”

Contact:

James Pieper, media relations, WSBI, +32 2 211 1192 or at james.pieper@wsbi-esbg.org

Notes to editors:
​Ivoirian small holder farmers and financial access

Ivorian agriculture represents a nearly a fifth of the country’s gross domestic product, employs 68% of labour and represents 40% of export income (CGAP survey). Despite being vital to the economy, 72% of farmers are still below the poverty line and less than 10% have an account at a formal financial institution (CGAP survey).

​Studies have shown that although farmers do not have access to financial services, there is a high interest for all types of services. A recent CGAP survey found that the majority of Ivoirian small holder farmers believe that access to insurance (85%), a bank/current account (82%), a mobile money account (80%), savings account (76%) and loans (63%) are highly important for their households.

According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), smallholder farms are the backbone of agricultural production in developing countries. IFPRI notes that small, family-run farms are also home to the majority of people living in absolute poverty, and half of the world’s undernourished people. Four-fifths of the developing world’s food is a product of small-sized farms, says the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

About Advans Group

Paris-based Advans Group aims to respond to the need of small businesses and other populations who have ill-adapted, limited or no access to formal financial services. Created in 2005, the group takes strategic focus on rural populations subsidiaries in nine countries in Africa and Asia. Advans’ microfinance institution, Advans Cote d’Ivoire, was created in 2009 and opened in 2012 in Cote d’Ivoire serves 100.000 clients through a network of 19 branches in cities. It has a loan book of €92 million and €50 million in deposits.

About WSBI – The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute

WSBI represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $15 trillion and serving some 1.3 billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2016). WSBI focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the aims of the G20 in achieving sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth, and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries. WSBI favours an inclusive form of globalization that is just and fair, supporting international efforts to advance financial access and financial usage for everyone.

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Kenya member, WSBI sign MoU

Nigeria's FCMB partners with WSBI

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

LAGOS, 12 November 2018 – First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is set to massively increase its support to agribusiness, its value chain and growth of the Nigerian economy after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI). The memorandum outlines a framework to deepen agency banking, financial inclusion and savings culture in the country.

According to the memorandum, the project involves FCMB rolling out an integrated savings account – named ‘Kampe Account’ – to offer credit and other financial services to 150,000 unbanked and under-banked farmers across five states through agricultural agents operating under the bank’s agency banking proposition. The first set of states to benefit are Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun and Oyo.

In addition to offering a range of financial products to farmers, FCMB plans to deploy its state-of-the art technology and alternate channel solutions, including Point of Sales, FCMBMobile and the USSD code to drive the project mainly in the rural and sub-urban farm settlements where most farmers are based. The bank will also organise capacity-building programmes for farmers aimed at facilitating their understanding of the sector and promote innovative ideas that would make the sector attractive, such as job creation that would in turn, impact on productivity and income.

Commenting on the initiative and support from WSBI under the Scale2Save programme, FCMB Managing Director and Chief Executive of Mr. Adam Nuru noted the development will revolutionise agribusiness – one of the various empowerment strategies adopted by the bank that is appreciated by stakeholders within and outside Nigeria. Mr. Nuru said: “Partnering with WSBI and harnessing the business model we have developed to drive it, under our Kampe Account, takes a sustainable approach when assisting farmers to gain better access to finance and other resources needed to help farmers drive a successful business.”

Nigerian smallholder farmers have been disadvantaged due to several factors including land fragmentation, inadequate farming equipment, broken value chains, poor access to finance, inadequate cash flow, lack of extension services including limited access to good markets to create low economies of scale that systemically keep farmers in a cycle of poverty. FCMB and WSBI are optimistic that these challenges will be addressed.

Mr. Nuru added: “Farmers who benefit from this effort can and should make the best use of the opportunity. FCMB will continue to partner with WSBI to create opportunities that would ensure the realisation of personal and business needs of customers.”

WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose concluded: “The Kampe Savings Project is yet another example of the innovative ways rural communities can flourish through mobile savings and beyond. Expanding banking access and agricultural services through mobile to farmers, which increasingly includes more women, can help knock out any doubt about the payoff that farming can bring.”

Notes to editors:​

About WSBI

The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI), founded in 1924, represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $15 trillion and serving some 1.3 billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2016). The Institute focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the achievement of sustainable, inclusive, balanced growth and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries.

About FCMB

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited is a member of FCMB Group Plc, which is one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments. Having successfully transformed to a retail and commercial banking-led group, FCMB expects to continue to distinguish itself by delivering exceptional services.

​About Scale2Save

Scale2Save is a partnership between WSBI and Mastercard Foundation to establish the viability of small-scale savings in six African countries that includes Nigeria. The six-year programme aims for 1 million more people banked in those countries through projects using innovative models.

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