Scale2Save programme signs up FINCA Uganda

WSBI, BRAC Uganda Bank Ltd join forces

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

BRUSSELS, 24January 2019 – WSBI and BRAC Uganda Bank Ltd (BUBL) look to widen financial inclusion in Uganda by digitising low-balance savings accounts.

BRUSSELS, 31 July 2019 –WSBI announces today that FINCA Uganda has joined the Scale2Save programme.

Outlined in a memorandum of understanding signed recently by both organisations under WSBI’s Scale2Save programme – a partnership between WSBI and Mastercard Foundation to help establish the viability of small-balance savings accounts – BUBL looks to develop a Wise Save savings product. The Scale2Save-supported project will provide accounts to approximately 164,000 people at the bottom of the pyramid, especially women earning low incomes, in rural and remote areas.

The Managing Director of BRAC Uganda Bank, Jimmy Adiga said: “Evolving in early 2019 from a microfinance institution to a Tier II bank, BRAC Uganda Bank Ltd now positions itself to not only provide greater value to the hundreds of thousands of clients already served, but also to achieve greater financial inclusion in Uganda. The new banking license now enables us to offer Ugandans; savings accounts, money transfer services, deposit-linked insurance and other financial services besides credit products.”

The newly established bank will aim to support low income earners and micro depositors that have been financially excluded from the formal banking system, to gain further access to finance. This will be achieved through implementing easier means to transact, simplified financial literacy and digital education, end-to-end digitisation of the Wise Save savings product and its channels, right from initial on boarding to transacting. On top of a vast branch network consisting of 32 branches and 131 satellite offices spread across Uganda, the bank plans to deploy roving agency banking services, offering banking services within the community. Similar to “susu” collections in West Africa, the offer comes at no extra cost to customers. They also plan to offer their Wise Save account bundled with micro deposit insurance cover for every account holder.

The bank will also work with the research team from its sister organisation, BRAC International to test ultra-poor graduation – particularly in trying to disprove existing theory that the ultra-poor cannot possibly be motivated to save.

WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose concluded: “BRAC Uganda Bank sees a huge upside to digitise the Wise Save account. By doing so, the low-income segment can access a savings product tied to a mobile wallet for greater convenience when accessing financial services. That means harnessing new technology while configuring BUBL’s agency banking and mobile banking platforms.”

Contact:

James Pieper, press office, WSBI on +32 2 211 1192, james.pieper@wsbi-esbg.org;

Afema Robert, communications, BUBL, +256-772120305, afema.robert@brac.net

Notes to editor:

About BRAC Uganda Bank Ltd (BUBL)

BRAC Uganda Bank Ltd launched on 25 April 2019 and attained its current status of a Tier II Credit institution following a successful background as the leading Microfinance services provider in Uganda. The Bank operates 32 regulated branches and 131 satellite offices covering 84 districts in Uganda targeting Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs. BRAC Uganda Bank Ltd promotes financial inclusion by extending financial services to unserved and underserved populations, especially women and youth as well as people living in poverty in rural areas. The Bank is operationally and financially self-sustaining with over 220,000 active customers and a loan book in excess of Uganda shillings 178 billion.

About WSBI

The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) represents the interests of 6,760 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $16 trillion and serving some 1.7 billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2018). Founded in 1924, the institute focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. WSBI supports the achievement of sustainable, inclusive, balanced growth and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries. Learn more at www.wsbi-esbg.org.

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty. One of the largest foundations in the world, it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation has offices in Toronto, Canada and in Kigali, Rwanda. Visit www.mastercardfdn.org for more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter

related


​​​​​​​​​​​Financial Transaction Tax (FTT)​

Eight ESBG members support the aim to curb short-term speculation and to encourage the prohibition of undesirable market behaviour. However, they do not support a Financial Transaction Tax at EU-level.

The impact on financial activities essential to the functioning of financial markets and to the real economy could be extremely negative. We believe that the following activities will be affected negatively by the proposed tax:

  • The issuance and secondary markets for sovereign bonds
  • The use of derivatives contract for hedging purposes
  • The use of repurchase agreements to provide secured liquidity to the market
  • Market-making activities
  • The use of intra-group transactions for liquidity management and efficient capital allocation within a group.

Concerns of savings and retails banks around EU financial transation tax (FTT)

ESBG’s main concern with the current EU FTT proposal is that – in efficient fixed income markets such as the markets for government and covered bonds, which are characterised by low spreads between bid and offer prices – the tax will be far higher than what can be earned on market-making, especially on instruments with short remaining time to maturity. ​

The consequence of the tax will be that market-making will almost cease and current liquid markets are likely to be transformed into buy and hold markets. As a result, market liquidity will disappear or be significantly reduced.​

Background​ on the FTT

A Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) builds on the work of famous Nobel laureate James Tobin. An FTT is in theory applied to a financial transaction in a similar way to how VAT is applied to goods and services but due to the very narrow margins and the international character of finance the FTT, if incorrectly implemented, may have a severe distortive impact on the economy as a whole.

​In September 2011 the European Commission proposed a FTT to be implemented in all EU member states but unanimity was not reached within the Council. Nonetheless, in autumn 2012, 11 member states (Belgium, Germany, Estonia, France, Greece, Spain, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia) requested and were permitted to continue the work on an FTT using the enhanced cooperation mechanism. After talks in December 2015, Estonia withdrew from the group of countries that requested enhanced cooperation, reducing the number of participating countries to 10, raising questions about the viability of the FTT.

​Timeline of FTT legislation in the European Union

  • September 2011: the European Commission proposed an FTT to be implemented in all Member States.
  • Autumn 2012: 11 Member States requested enhanced cooperation on the FTT.
  • February 2013: the Commission set out the details of the FTT to be implemented under enhanced cooperation in Council Directive COM (2013)71.
  • Spring 2015: French President François Hollande called for the FTT to be based on the largest scope possible with low rates thus aligning the French position with the Austrian and German position. The EU-11 decided at the January 2015 meeting that the political coordination of the work on the FTT will be done by Austria and the technical coordination of the work on the FTT will be done by Portugal.
  • May 2015: FTT (EU-11) Ministers’ discussion.
  • June 2016 : Member States deciding to set up two task forces responsible for discussing issues regarding the possible effects on public borrowing costs of the proposed FTT and the efficiency of FTT collection.
  • October 2016: The group of 10 Member States held a new meeting setting out the types of trades that would be covered, on the basis of a proposal put forward by Austria.
  • March 2017: Based on the latest talks at the finance minister level, the group of Member States is pursuing an overall opt-out for the pension fund industry.
  • Autumn 2018: The European Commission is preparing a new proposal, helped by the Austrian Presidency. The income from the new FTT is destined for the EU budget. Countries participating in the FTT would get to reduce the tax’s contribution for the EU budget. However, all tax initiatives need unanimity before they can become EU law.​

related


​​​​​​​​​​​ESBG and the European Sectoral Social Dialogue

ESBG is a Social Partner on the employers' side, together with EBF and EACB in the European Sectoral Social Dialogue in the Banking Sector. UNI Europa is the Social Partner on the workers' representatives' side. The ESBG Human Resources Network is consulted on an ongoing basis in this framework.

About the European Sector Social Dialogue Committees (ESSDC)

The Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for banking was set up in 1999 as part of the ESSDC, which were introduced by the European Commission in 1998. The committees play a role not only in European public policymaking but also in developing more independent bilateral relations and eventually concluding agreements. As these committees can influence policymaking at EU level and form joint opinions, conclude joint texts and agreements, among other functions, they potentially have a role in issues related to the development of their industry.

EU banking sector employment​

In the European Union, around 3.7 million people are employed in the banking sector. Major challenges include the changing legislative framework as a result of the global financial crisis and the Eurozone crisis, bank supervision, image of the industry, digitalisation and professional ethics linked to the issue of variable pay in the sector.

Focus areas and projects for European Sectoral Social Dialogue in the Banking Sector

The committee currently focuses on, amongst other:

  • Pillar II of the project ”impact of banking regulation on employment”
  • Skills
  • Follow up to the ‘Joint Declaration on Digitalisation’
  • Main implications for SSDB under the European Pillar of Social Rights

related