WSBI shares conclusions of its 6-year programme on financial inclusion

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

The Scale2Save programme, a WSBI partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, achieved its goal of banking over 1 million people in African countries through 8 innovative projects with local partners. The programme also made important contributions to finding sustainable business models to serve the mass market of low-income people. This is the most recent of a series of initiatives by WSBI to build financial inclusion and resilience for people in vulnerable situations.

Paris, 6 July 2022 – The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI)’s programme for financial inclusion, Scale2Save, held today a closing knowledge sharing event in Paris with focus on the achievements of a six-year partnership with the Mastercard Foundation: over 1 million people banked in Africa and a substantial contribution to the understanding of products and services that can boost financial inclusion.

Scale2Save, soon to come to an end, worked with local banks and microfinance institutions in Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal and Uganda. It implemented eight innovative projects to reach out to the lowest income people. As projects are implemented, Scale2Save also contributes to building knowledge about the key elements of sustainable business models to serve this segment of customers, often underserved or completely excluded from formal financial services.

“Scale2Save theme is ‘Microsavings for Maximum Impact’ because we aim at enabling our partners to find financial solutions that work, and that can be scaled-up to allow low-income people to actively save”, said WSBI Managing Director, Peter Simon, during the event attended by participants from financial inclusion stakeholders from Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

Scale2Save goes beyond banking people towards adding value to the lives of these new customers by finding ways of keeping them engaged and making full use of their financial services and products, to address the common issue among low-income people of not using the accounts offered to them on a regular basis.

The keys to success found though the eight projects include a customer-centric approaches, digitalisation, financial education and literacy, and the use of roving agents and sharing agency infrastructure.

Scale2Save projects are focused on three long time financially excluded groups: women, to close the gender gap as they are more than half of the financially excluded worldwide; youth, because they increasingly make significant contributions to their households; and farmers, as they constitute an important part of many African economies and formal financial services.

Scale2Save current partners are:  Advans Microfinance in Cote d’Ivoire; PostBank in Kenya; Al Barid and Barid Cash in Morocco; LAPO Microfinance and First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in Nigeria; and FINCA Uganda, Centenary Bank, BRAC Bank Limited in Uganda.

“I am absolutely positive that that the Scale2Save partners as well as WSBI and its members are committed to continue their efforts to contribute closing the remaining access gaps”, said Programme Director, Weselina Angelow.

Scale2Save is a six-year partnership with the Mastercard Foundation. It is the most recent in a series of initiatives by WSBI to mobilize its global network of over 7,000 savings and retails banks in favour of financial inclusion. WSBI sees financial inclusion as an enabler to achieve the UN Agenda 2030, to open the doors to economic and employment opportunities for people in vulnerable situations and to build resilience to shocks.

Founded in 1924, WSBI has members who share a business model that has social responsibility at its core and is focused on serving local communities, households and SMEs. WSBI has 65 members in 88 countries. They serve over 1.8 billion customers, have total assets of over 15 trillion dollars, and employ 2.2 million workers.

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Digital euro: ESBG’s response to the European Commission targeted consultation

ESBG stated the need to further assess exactly what gaps in the payments system could be filled by the introduction of a digital euro, and to analyse how the existing solutions could be adjusted to enhance their value to the customer. This in its response to the European Commission targeted consultation on June 15. We highlighted the financial education challenges ahead, which will be key to address in order to continue building the customers’ confidence in the financial sector.

The response also stated that ESBG and its members are in favour of limits to individual holdings of digital euro – ideally in the form of €1,500 cap. It elaborated that a higher limit might cause a deposit outflow that would not be manageable for most banking business models in the EU and would likely force banks to de-leverage massively. The negative impact of this on balance sheet would be particularly severe for savings and retail banks that currently have little to no access to market funding. The deposit outflow would not only impact liquidity, but also the volume of credit provision of deposit-intense banks, which in the past kept the lending stable even in crisis times.

For a digital euro to be successful, it must provide a user-friendly onboarding process and it should be secure, easy to access and use, and adapted to the public. It would also require the acceptance of both the consumers and merchants. Finally, However, any measure aimed at introducing mandatory acceptance – and any eventual exemption – should be carefully assessed and designed at EU level to avoid affecting the level playing field between different means of payment and crowd-out the existing solutions.

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ESBG supports consumer participation in capital markets

ESBG has recently shared its comments with the European Commission on new package of measures to increase consumer participation in capital markets. The upcoming MiFID II Review provides the opportunity to contribute to this goal and in this regard, ESBG highlighted several key priorities that should be addressed as part of the Review:

Keeping the choice between commission-based and fee-based model: no ban on inducements. The current legal framework on inducements is appropriate to protect clients against potential conflicts of interest. A ban on inducements – that would leave room only for the fee-based model – will inevitably lead to an advice gap for retail clients and only a small number of wealthier investors would continue to invest in capital markets whereas the vast majority of retail investors would refrain from it. However, we believe that some adjustment may need to be done in order to achieve a common understanding across Member States on what an inducement is and to avoid different interpretation by National Competent Authorities that undermine the level playing field.

Reducing information overload: The flood of information introduced under MiFID II overwhelms clients. The vast majority of clients would like to have the option to waive some of the mandatory information. (opt-out), which they do not perceive as helpful.

Harmonisation of different investor protection requirements: When providing investment advice or selling financial instruments, investment firms have to comply with several different requirements (MiFID II, PRIIPs, 2 SFDR, etc.) Many of these requirements are not harmonized and it’s a huge problem for both advisors and investors.

Packaged retail investment and insurance products (PRIIPs): ESBG is aligned with the ESAs advice on the review of the PRIIPs Regulation and we call the EC to take into account in order to include these points in the Retail Investor Strategy. The scope should not be extended to new products, at least until it is possible to introduce a more differentiated approach between products under the PRIIPs Regulation and it is necessary to maintain the exemption from the scope of PRIIPs for pension products.

Suitability and Appropriateness assessment: We don’t see any weaknesses in the present suitability and appropriateness regime. Currently, the suitability and appropriateness regimes find themselves to be under extensive development, considering both the requirements from the new ESMA Guidelines on Appropriateness and Execution only as well as the requirements from the implementation of ESG-considerations into the suitability regime.

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ESBG calls for more feasible rules on the new corporate sustainability due diligence

In its response to the European Commission (EC)’s call for feedback on the proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence, the ESBG suggests several changes to make the rules more feasible.

ESBG members support the goal to tackle environmental issues and human rights abuses as they commit to sustainable, responsible and future-oriented banking and support the creation of a coherent legal framework. Nevertheless, ESBG finds that the proposal foresees a role for financial entities that is too ambitious and could create legal uncertainty.

To avoid unfeasible implementation and monitoring costs, accompanied by uncertain legal consequences, we request further clarification on the role of financial entities in the context of the proposed Directive.Rules must be proportionate, feasible and should not restrict competition and innovation. The current environment might not be adequate for requirements that could hamper economic and financial recovery.

The ESBG feedback calls to limit the scope to companies with less than 1000 employees, and for a voluntary common due diligence framework of best practices for regulated financial undertakings that takes into account a specific connection to the provision of services by banks. It also calls for the introduction of a grandfathering provision for the identification of actual and potential adverse impacts and the creation of a uniform standard for the preparation of a Code of Conduct.

ESBG members underline that there is no need to establish new corporate directors’ duties and that existing liability regimes already provide appropriate rules. In consideration of the right to the presumption of innocence, businesses should not be held for damage in their supply chain if they did not directly cause it.

Additionally, several terms need to be further clarified and disproportionate provisions should be eliminated.

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ESBG welcomes horizontal cybersecurity requirements for digital products

The European Commission launched a public consultation in March to gather views from a wide range of stakeholders to help shaping the Cyber Resilience Act, a regulation on horizontal cybersecurity requirements for digital products and ancillary services. As a response to this public consultation on the Cyber Resilience Act, ESBG submitted its position to the European Commission on 18 May. The ESBG position focuses on the following aspects: I) Cybersecurity of digital products and the users of digital products; II) Improving the cybersecurity of digital products; and III) Stakeholder impact of potential regulatory measures.

Digital products and ancillary services create opportunities for EU economies and societies but they also lead to new challenges because when everything is connected a cybersecurity incident can affect an entire system, and thus disrupt economic and social activities. The initiative for a Cyber Resilience Act aims to address market needs and protect consumers from insecure products by introducing common cybersecurity rules for manufacturers and vendors of tangible and intangible digital products and ancillary services.

On the whole, ESBG welcomes the European Commission’s Cyber Resilience Act as the level of risk of cybersecurity incidents affecting digital products has increased during the last five years. The overall level of cybersecurity of digital products marketed in the European Union could be improved. Subjecting certain products marketed in the Union to cybersecurity requirements would be effective (e.g. hardware or software products subject to higher cybersecurity risks).

Moreover, ESBG members believe that leaving it to hardware manufacturers and software developers to demonstrate compliance with security requirements is insufficient. It would be more valuable to have the opinion of a third party based on a control framework.

All feedback received will be taken into account as the Commission further develops and fine-tunes this initiative, that is tentatively scheduled for the third quarter of 2022. Input will help the Commission analyse cybersecurity-related problems associated with the digital products markets, explore possible ways forward and assess the impact of different types of interventions.

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An open data economy should be multilateral and cross-sectoral

ESBG submitted its position to the European Commission on the proposed Data Act on 12 May. ESBG welcomed the Commission’s data strategy and its commitment to create a single market for data that will constitute a potential source of growth and innovation.

We believe that a European approach to data is essential to ensure competitiveness, avoid fragmentation of national regulations, and benefit from a scale effect. Moreover, ESBG members stressed that the horizontal regulatory approach is crucial to establish the key rules and principles for all sectors as, in our view, an open data economy should be multilateral and cross-sectoral.

The European Commission published its proposal for the Data Act in February and opened this call for feedback in March. The proposal clarifies who can use, access, and share data generated in the EU across all economic sectors, and on what terms. The Data Act aims to provide a harmonised framework for data sharing, conditions for access by public bodies, international data transfers, cloud switching, and interoperability.

The Data Act is based on the results of an open public consultation that the European Commission carried out in 2021, to which ESBG responded in September. It is the second main legislative initiative directly related to data, following the recent adoption of the Data Governance Act, which aimed to increase trust and facilitate data sharing across the EU and between sectors.

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Scale2Save brings Ugandan financial stakeholders to commit to financial inclusion

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

KAMPALA, 28 April 2022 – Key stakeholders of the Ugandan financial ecosystem came together during a Scale2Save knowledge sharing event, which concluded with a joint call to action with concrete steps to boost financial inclusion in the country.

Read the call to action

The signatories of this call to action, and initiative of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) and its programme for financial inclusion, Scale2Save, are: the Uganda Bankers Association (UBA), Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU), The Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU), The Financial Technologies Service Providers Association (FITSPA), and the Mastercard Foundation.

“We are ready to work with all stakeholders to demonstrate the commitment of the industry, particularly in times of shocks. We are also ready to continue making contributions to the empowerment of low-income customers to seize economic opportunities, build resilience and, ultimately, have a better life”, state the signatories of the document.

This commitment was announced at the end of a 2-day Scale2Save event in Kampala entitled ‘Building resilience and economic empowerment for women and youth’ which brought together some 100 participants. Both the event and the call to action focused on the key drivers of financial inclusion such as customer-centricity, the potential of digital finance and sustainable business models.

Michael Atingi-Ego, Bank of Uganda’s Deputy Governor, described the current state of high financial exclusion of women and youth in the country during his keynote speech at the event.

“When you consider these observations about our lived reality, you start to see the imbalance that Scale2Save is attempting to address here today. This extent of financial exclusion of women and the youth tantamount to trying to balance a three-legged stool on one leg. This is unsustainable in a country that is working towards socio-economic transformation”, he said.

“I am pleased to participate in this event because the Bank of Uganda shares the objective of democratising access to and empowering the users of financial services, not least by championing the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, and through our strategic plan and operations. But like the multilegged stool, it will take the contribution of all stakeholders and partners to bring about universal financial inclusion,” added Mr Atingi-Ego.

Scale2Save is a six-year programme working six African countries including Uganda, where it partners with Centenary Bank, FINCA Uganda and BRAC Uganda Bank. Weselina Angelow is Scale2Save Programme Director. During the event, she presented some of the key lessons learned during the last years implementing financial inclusion initiatives in Uganda.

Download our learning paper on Digital Financial Inclusion in Nigeria and Uganda: opportunities and remaining challenges

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Scale2Save champions inclusive financial services for Nigerians

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

LAGOS, 30 March 2022 – The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI)’s programme for financial inclusion, Scale2Save, has reiterated the importance of inclusive financial services for Nigerian women, youths and farmers as a way to fuel the country’s economic recovery and growth. This was stated at the Scale2Save financial inclusion knowledge sharing event attended by key financial stakeholders across the country.

Watch the TV coverage

Scale2Save is a six-year programme of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation aimed at establishing the viability of low-balanced savings accounts and to unravel the extent to which savings help vulnerable people in the society to boost their financial wellbeing.

In her keynote address, the Scale2Save Programme Director, Weselina Angelow, highlighted the importance of stakeholders’ knowledge sharing events such as this towards Nigeria’s quest for inclusive growth and economic development. According to her, “As we intensify efforts to improve financial inclusion, it is important that all stakeholders are a part of knowledge and insight-based discourse as this to improve on their processes and make informed financial inclusion decisions.”

Reiterating the commitment of Scale2Save and how the programme is impacting its members as well as other stakeholders, Angelow stated that the programme’s mission is to support financial inclusion initiatives to help millions of Nigerian youths, women and farmers.

“We focus on adding value to all stakeholders along the service value chain by empowering our financial service provider partners to become savings-driven, customer-centric institutions,” she said.

The Mastercard Foundation’s Access to Finance Lead, Mercy Mutua, stressed that financial inclusion is an enabler to help African youth find a way out of poverty.

We acknowledge that a lot has been accomplished but there is a long way to go to address barriers, especially for young rural women. It is Important to tailor solutions relevant to context and customer-centric,” she said in a virtual keynote speech.

Commenting on the need to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria, the Head of Financial Inclusion Secretariat, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Paul Ihuoma Oluikpe, stated that financial service providers must target specific customer needs with financial inclusion products.

“There are several products in our financial services space that are too generic. These products are not targeting any value proposition, and are not sufficiently differentiated at the customer level. While there are generic products that appeal to the larger audience, there is the need to drill down at the customer level to target different nuances that exist in the society,” Dr. Oluikpe said.

The WSBI’s 2019 financial service provider survey reveals that attitudes to financial inclusion and low-value savings among financial service providers in Nigeria and other key markets in Africa are being significantly transformed as they have intensified their focus on customers, targeting different groups with tailored accounts and savings products.

Despite the significant progress recorded so far, stakeholders believe that there is still a long way to go to attain a satisfactory level of financial inclusion. Confirming this, the Group Head of Financial Inclusion, FCMB, Adetunji Lamidi, said, “Financial illiteracy is a major barrier to financial inclusion. What we see is a situation where a lot of Nigerians still have this overdependence on the informal financial sector. It takes a long trust-building process to switch them from the informal sector they are familiar with into the formal sector. This is why most of the financial service providers have adopted agency banking where people within the neighbourhood are used as bank representatives. This helps to build confidence, trust and convenience into our financial inclusion strategy.”

Through the intervention of Scale2Save, Financial Service Provider (FPIs) partners continue to innovate products and services that are driving up inclusion among the key target groups. Scale2Save continues to drive the message of financial inclusion while engaging with key stakeholders in target countries that can help actualise the inclusion objective.

Download our learning paper on Digital Financial Inclusion in Nigeria and Uganda: opportunities and remaining challenges

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From Ideation to Iteration: Human-Centered Design of Micro-Savings in Nigeria

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

Five lessons from LAPO Microfinance Bank’s experience using HCD to revamp their child savings account product

By Irene Wagaki

 

In 2019, LAPO Microfinance Bank of Nigeria undertook an audacious goal to onboard over 168,000 savers in three years through a child savings account. To help them meet this goal, management decided to use a Human-Centered Design (HCD) process to evaluate and revamp their offering. The My Pikin & I account, which means “My Child and I,” seeks to motivate consistent savings through incentives including micro-insurance for mothers and scholarships for their children.

Read it on FinDev Gateway

With the support of WSBI’s Scale2Save programme for financial inclusion and IDEO.org, the LAPO team conducted a two-phased HCD process. The first phase involved research, synthesis and ideation, and the second phase was prototyping, iteration and refining. Immersive research techniques such as observation, interviews and focus groups were used, followed by synthesis of findings to draw persona maps and insights that fed into the ideation activities.

Here’s what we learned through this process:

1

Make sure you have a specific strategic outcome in mind that human-centered design can address. In the case of the My Pikin & I product, the goals became clear upon holding initial stakeholder sessions with LAPO Microfinance Bank’s senior management teams. They sought to attract new clients and motivate them to save consistently, thus helping them attain the MFI’s goal for deposit mobilization. HCD was needed to realize that goal as it centers on clients’ personal needs and aspirations while meeting the institution’s strategic goals.

2

Keep it simple. Co-creating with customers requires simplified prototypes. The HCD process helped LAPO Microfinance Bank make communication materials more accessible to its target audience. During the prototyping exercises, customers suggested rewording the messaging to show the benefits one incentive at a time rather than providing loads of information in one poster.

3

Find out what motivates your clients and capitalize on it. Immersive customer interviews helped the LAPO Microfinance Bank team realize that the ability to save was not enough of a motivation for customers. They needed to see tangible benefits from the start in order to save consistently. So the team added a microinsurance incentive, offering premium-free coverage against accident and critical illness, that is tied to consistent savings behaviour. According to the product roadmap, LAPO Microfinance Bank plans to extend the cover to include health insurance. The design team was also intrigued to discover that customers preferred to keep their physical cashbooks as evidence of their savings rather than rely on the fully digitized system the team had designed. This finding provided an opportunity for LAPO Microfinance Bank to build trust by offering a redesigned physical cashbook, thus reinforcing the physical attachment to the cashbook as well as providing a savings tracking tool. Complementary evidence of transactions is also provided via SMS confirmation.

4

Customer-facing agents and personnel require the right tools, not just training. LAPO’s “aha” moment came when they realized that staff didn’t actually need more training on how to explain products’ features to new customers. What they really needed was a handy tool for onboarding customers. The design team created a visual pitch of the My Pikin & I product that spoke to the target customers’ aspirations, needs and concerns. The videos serve as explainers and are displayed on a tablet as part of the customer onboarding process.

5

Take advantage of the transformative potential of the HCD process. At its core, HCD is a highly collaborative process. LAPO’s team brought together people from many different departments, including savings, research, agency banking and customer service. They all participated in prototyping exercises with customers, using the feedback they received to adjust product design. This experience brought about organizational transformation for LAPO Microfinance Bank, as it helped to impart new skills, break hierarchy barriers and develop more innovative mindsets.

Next steps for LAPO: Experimentation Phase

After going through the HCD process, LAPO Microfinance Bank implemented the My Pikin & I product with a heavy on-ground presence of agents and roving staff. These agents continue to complement the bank’s physical and digital banking channels, especially in rural locations.

Their efforts have been successful. Since the products’ re-launch in 2019, over 125,000 new customers have joined LAPO Microfinance Bank and opened My Pikin & I accounts. However, the microinsurance incentive has not experienced a proportionate increase in uptake, with only 7,400 insurance takers. For LAPO Microfinance Bank to optimize the My Pikin & I product fully with its go-to-market strategies, the next step would be an experimentation phase to study which insurance benefits are most effective in sustaining a positive savings behavior.

Ultimately, the human-centered design process should be incorporated as an ongoing way of doing business, as it can help the MFI keep its clients’ needs and desires at the forefront, while also working towards the institutions’ goals.

 

About the author

Irene Wagaki works as a consultant for WSBI’s Scale2Save programme for financial inclusion in Africa. She is a behavioral researcher and designer at Lime Group Africa with experience in leading Human-Centered Design for digital financial services, savings, microinsurance, financial literacy and agri-business interventions. She holds an MBA and certifications in Behavioral Science, Human Centered Design and Digital Identity.

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How to get a historic bilateral deal to share agent banking infrastructure

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

Scale2Save Partners go from competition to cooperation

 

Originally published on FinDev Gateway

By Kimathi Githachuri, Scale2Save Local Technical Specialist

On a warm quiet morning in Uganda last October, FINCA kicked-off retail cash-in and cash-out transactions through agents of its traditional rival, Centenary Bank. It was a low-key event, muffled by COVID-19 restrictions, that did not reflect the extraordinary nature of the occasion. For the first time in the history of African banking, two erstwhile competitors were, on their own accord – without regulatory prodding – choosing to share service-distribution infrastructure, for the benefit of end-user low-income customers, in a bilateral arrangement.

Enticing two competing financial institutions to work together is not an easy task. Particularly if the proposal is about convincing rivals, who operate in the same geographic environment, to share infrastructure in a way that might advance the interests of one of them.

It is therefore no wonder that eyebrows were raised when, just a couple of months to the onset of the pandemic, the WSBI Scale2Save programme made the proposition to FINCA Uganda and Centenary Bank to consider sharing agency banking infrastructure.  Smarting from the rejection of a similar proposition made to two of its partners in one of other five focus countries, the Scale2Save team was better armed to respond to the anticipated preliminary objections.

Who are the partners?

Centenary Bank, on the other hand, is the country’s leading commercial microfinance bank, serving more than 1.8 million consumers.. It built its reputation earlier on in rural development banking and servicing the Catholic Church, which is its single largest shareholder. The bank has evolved and now attends to the needs of a wider range of retail and corporate customers through an expanded product portfolio. Centenary was amongst the first banks in the country to roll out agent banking operations, and currently boasts the largest network of agents of any bank in Uganda.

Centenary Rural Development Bank Ltd, as the Bank is officially known, is a founding member of the Agency Banking Company (ABC), a multi-laterally shared agency banking implementation managed under the Uganda Bankers Association (UBA), the umbrella lobby for financial institutions in Uganda. It contributes more than 50% of its existing 5,000 strong agency banking network under the ABC arrangement – thus already enabling multiple financial institutions access to its own successful channel. Due to the restrictions already mentioned above, FINCA is not allowed to participate in this effort.

What is in it for the Partners?

An agency banking operation would provide FINCA the opportunity to compete with other FSPs on equal footing for new customers and extend service distribution to existing customers.

Under the Scale2Save programme, access to the agency banking channel provided by Centenary affords FINCA the opportunity to expand its digital banking footprint, effectively completing the customer journey puzzle; where customers are on-boarded using its mobile banking channel and access to, and deposit of, funds using an agency banking network that is already ubiquitous and fully operational.

The motivation for Centenary Bank to offer its investment – which conservatively costs anything from a million US dollars to roll out – to be unreservedly accessed by a third-party institution and its customers is that it gets to optimise the capacity of its agents, which offers improved returns for the agents, as well as some marginal revenue increment to the bank.

Under the Scale2Save programme, Centenary can also test, re-design and recast its technology and operational capability to support other micro-finance deposit taking institutions (MDIs) like FINCA, using its proprietary agency banking channel. This is an arrangement that the ABC is currently not able to facilitate.

 What were the Enablers?

Organisational Chemistry: During the negotiations of the Centenary-FINCA deal, we were lucky that both organisations’ CEOs had great camaraderie, which had a reverberating effect on the rest of the rank and file in the two institutions, leading to great working chemistry. Outstanding issues that would ordinarily get in the way of the preliminary and technical engagements were quickly resolved.

Product and Technology Design: Discussions included technical design elements and commercial components touching on pricing and market engagement. Eventually, a decision was made to limit provision of FINCA services to cash in and cash out payments only. Both parties considered third-party customer on-boarding at the agent a touchy issue – both from a competitor as well as regulatory perspective – and was therefore excluded as part of the initial offering.

Regulatory Support: Against the expectations, Bank of Uganda was refreshingly supportive of the agreement, and advanced specific advisory that would balance the aspirations of the partners, while ensuring that the provisions of the law and regulations were adhered to. Finally, the central bank gave its approval.

The Net Effect

Six months into the launch of the service, transactions through-put have an over 95% success rate – considered high for such a novel deployment. More than USD7million worth of transactions have been made by FINCA customers in at least 1,500 Centenary Bank agents spread across the country. Up to 80% of these transactions have been deposit transactions, underscoring the critical role distribution plays in mobilising deposits and catalysing savings. Besides improved access in remote locations, FINCA customers can maintain a healthy credit score while meeting their credit repayment obligations.

In addition, Centenary Bank agents are happy to benefit from additional transactions, which could eventually encourage further investments in the agency banking channel. Centenary Bank also gets the benefit of a proven test case on supporting MFIs/MDIs and other unregulated entities in mobilising deposits and customer support for their financial services.

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