End Term Evaluation of the Scale2Save Programme

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

Abridged report July 2022

End Term Evaluation of the Scale2Save Programme

Scale2Save Programme created a lasting Legacy:
1.3 million more low-income women, farmers and youth are financially included on the African continent

1.3

MILLION

The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) and the Mastercard Foundation engaged Genesis
Analytics to conduct the end-term evaluation of the Scale2Save programme

The purpose of the evaluation was to provide lessons learnt against key learning questions of the programme related to the supply-side.:

  • How does the institutional model affect the ability to offer low balance savings accounts (LBSAs)?
  • What impact has the programme had on partner Financial Service Providers (FSPs)?
  • How has the Scale2Save programme contributed to the ecosystem?
  • What has been the value of partnerships in the delivery of LBSAs under the Scale2Save programme?
  • What is the combination of supply-side and demand-side drivers that emerge for LBSAs?
  • What factors impeded the ability of partner FSPs in the provision of LBSAs during the Scale2Save programme?
  • What factors influence the sustainability of LBSAs developed under the Scale2Save programme
  • Learnings from the evaluation will be used to inform future efforts of increasing demand and supply for low balance savings accounts and for broader ecosystem learning.


The programme
helped FSPs to
overcome obstacles
that would have
been prohibitive
without the
Scale2Save
team’s constant
support.

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Different Strokes for Different Folks

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

A Customer Onboarding Comparative Analysis

At its inception in 2016, the Scale2Save Program (referred to as the Program in this report) set out to acquire one million customers through 10 innovative projects across the six countries of Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal and Morocco.

All 10 projects were uniquely defined by a product/service mix that targeted diverse sectors and market segments of the local economies – ranging from micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs) to agriculture to micro-insurance.

As the Program is wrapping up, this publication looks at the strategic operations and tactics applied by the Scale2Save partners in East and West Africa to acquire customers.

An attempt is also made to analyse the quality and impact of the level of effortand investment made, evidently at varying degrees, against the outcomes that were delivered, particularly regarding the experience a customer gets through that first touchpoint

Objective of the Case Study

This case study sets out, ab initio, to validate the dynamic nature of customer targeting and acquisition, and the varying degrees of success that accompany each tactical approach. While not in doubt that in effect, a combination of tactics would ordinarily be desirable to achieve the expected outcomes, it is safe to assume that one or two dominant tactics tend to carry the greatest burden of the customer acquisition drive for any product or service.

Download the Comparative Analysis

September 2022

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Savings and Retail Banking in Africa 2022

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

New 2022: WSBI survey of Financial Inclusion for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises

Scale2Save WSBI’s programme for financial inclusion, launches today its Savings and Retail Banking in Africa 2022 report. This time, WSBI puts the focus on the state of the focus is on the financial inclusion for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The Savings and Retail Banking in Africa research series aims to help improve access to financial services for financially disadvantaged people in Africa.
The 2022 edition is based upon research conducted with WSBI members in up to 34 countries on the African continent. It was produced in collaboration with FinMark Trust under the Scale2Save programme.
The report targets financial institutions, regulators and donors who deploy financial inclusion initiatives to develop the MSME sector in Africa.

Why the reports foundings are crucial ?

It highlights :
· How national strategies favour financial inclusion of MSMEs
· What services FSPs are offering to MSME
· How FSPs contribute to a successful MSME sector
· How financial services enable access to clean energy
· Supporting MSMEs as bank agents, and
· What impedes better financial inclusion of MSMEs

The report concludes with specific recommendations for regulators and policymakers, financial service providers and market facilitators.

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Bank Asia Agent Banking: An Initiative to Reach the Unreached People for Better Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh

By Jakirul Islam, Senior Vice President in Bank Asia Limited

A number of banks have emerged with several technology driven innovative banking solutions to accelerate the national financial inclusion drive under prudent directives and support from the central bank (Bangladesh Bank) in Bangladesh. Bank Asia pioneered Agent Banking in 2014 for rural financial inclusion under the auspices of Bangladesh Bank. The bank is extending full range of banking services to the last mile citizens across the country.

Bank Asia’s Agent Banking with a vast network of more than 5000 agent outlets is reaching more than 5.1 million customers across 64 districts in Bangladesh. Bank Asia, alone represents more than 45% of total female customers in Agent Banking. It serves more than 2.0 million social safety net (SSN) beneficiaries through its Agent Banking.

Bank Asia’s agent outlets doubled over the past three years and it added more than 3.0 million customers over the past years of pandemic. It partnered with a2i to expand agent network through Union Digital Centre (UDC) and Bangladesh Post Office (BPO) under PPP model.

 

  • Bank Asia owns more than 26% of total agent banking outlets across the industry
  • 62% of its total agent banking customers are women.
  • The agent banking pioneer ranked top in customer acquisition. More than 90% customers of its agent banking fall under the rural geography.
  • Bank Asia is the only bank in Bangladesh who received grants from the Gates Foundation and MetLife Foundation to address the gender gap and financial health within the Low & moderate income group people.

Bank Asia’s unique ‘micro-branch ‘model to make the rural economy more vibrant

Bank Asia adopted its pioneering ‘micro-branch’ model in agent banking. Recently it expanded a sizeable network for its invention of ‘rural micro-merchant’ towards building a complete digital banking ecosystem for the rural economy. Agent banking, in contrast to other branchless banking, is largely driven by an exclusive specialized agent model. This could be due to initial investment requirements to set up an outlet: An outlet in agent banking is exclusive for Bank Asia and distinctly branded by various permanent marketing collaterals and point-of-sale materials (PoSMs). This requires 10-15 times higher investment than is needed for a typical mobile financial service (MFS) agent outlet. This model focuses on the three stakeholders bank itself, banking agents and customers.

In accordance with the central bank guidelines bank must maintain a minimum ratio of 3:1 for rural and urban agent banking outlets. Bank should prefer remote rural areas, chars, islands and other geographical areas with limited accessibility for establishing new agent banking outlets where there is no bank branch or agent point within  a proximity of one kilometre (with an exception of agent on UDC).

Bank Asia has 3 categories of agent outlets 1. Individual 2. Union Digital Centre (UDC) 3. E-Post centres by Bangladesh Post Office. Individual outlets are run by the individual entrepreneurs whereas UDCs and e-post centres are run by the designated entrepreneurs assigned by the Local Government Division (LGD) and Bangladesh Post Office.

Bank has defined a fees, charges and commission structure for the agent banking services. Agents earn from the commission set by the bank for each services category.

Key customer value proposition     

#1 providing banking access to the last-mile citizen

  • Bank Asia has an agent outlet network of more than 5000 across the country. Approximately 80% of them are located in rural areas. Bank Asia reports that more than 5.0 million clients transact through its agent outlet network, which accounts for approximately 34% of the total market share among 29 players. Unbanked customers can open bank accounts at the agent outlets and make peer-to-peer transfers to other bank accounts and pay their utility bills including passport fees and other variety of payments. Currently, a significant proportion of Bangladeshis still don’t have access to mobile phones, while agent banking offering bio-metric based digital banking services without mobile phones or any device ownership dependency at customers end.
  • The reliance on agent networks has its challenges as the provider must principally control quality and service. However, Bank Asia’s management strategy pivots on its careful selection of agents. They are primarily small business owners, fresh entrepreneurs and other institutional agents (like Union Digital Centre under a2i and e-post centers of Bangladesh Post Office) in rural areas. This allows Bank Asia to focus on their ability to manage their liquidity, community standing, trust, and operating hours. Bank Asia’s agents are also required to invest approximately BDT 0.5 million, which builds ownership and motivates them to keep customers happy.

 #2 Greater convenience, ease of use and cost effective

  • Rural customers can access Bank Asia agent outlets with greater ease when compared to a bank branch and other financial service outlets. Rural customers need to travel a maximum distance of no longer than two kilometres to reach a Bank Asia agent outlet, who provide the added advantage of operating beyond typical banking hours.
  • Compared to USSD or mobile phone based financial services where simple cash-in transactions can require seven to eight menu screens and entering two to three number sequences, Bank Asia agent banking to run on bio-metric fingerprint and facial recognition system without any dependence of mobile phones at user end.
  • Agent banking fees and charges are also affordable. It offers Free of Charge (FOC) cash withdrawal in compare to the alternatives in the market for OTC withdrawal from the mobile wallets which charges 1.80% (i.e. BDT20 per thousand as per market practice) of the withdrawal amount.

#3 Building trust in digital platforms

  • Cybersecurity is a burning issue across the regions and Bangladesh isn’t an exception. In 2017, country’s mobile payments industry faced a huge challenge with the rise of ‘digital hundi’ due to some anomalies in customer KYC. Given that customer trust of digital platforms, and in particular financial transactions is already low, incidents like this do not bode well. And payment solution providers, who are relatively new supply-side actors in the financial services space, cannot afford any reputational risks.
  • Bank Asia has invested in a multi-tier security system that is compliant with latest regulations and global standards for branchless banking. As an added security measure, Bank Asia uses bio-metric authentication through m-POS to confirm all transactions at an agent outlet. Customer KYC is also cross-checked with the Election Commission (EC) NID database. Bank Asia also introduced a robotics technology for inward remittance disbursement through its agent banking. This robotics technology has significantly minimized the human error and faster the process of disbursement.

#4 Capturing the mass-market; leveraging key use-cases

The last decade in Bangladesh has seen substantial progress in terms of key underlying drivers for digitising financial services, such as more reliable internet connectivity and increased smartphone penetration. The market is supported by favourable demographics, such as a relatively youthful population and increasing income levels, with the growing middle-class segment. However, while banking agent networks exist and are growing in Bangladesh.

A number of use cases which have differentiated Bank Asia Agent Banking from other alternatives in the market. Bank Asia has been focusing on the low and moderate income group people with a vision of greater financial inclusion through social safety net payments, inward remittance disbursement and loans for rural micro-entrepreneurs. The agent banking pioneer has already made noteworthy contribution through these use cases. Both inward remittance and loan disbursement through Agent Banking experienced a significant growth over the past two years of pandemic.

Lessons learned

  • Almost 50% customers are women in agent banking, however only around 2-3% agents are women. Female customers feel more comfortable to deal with a female agent.
  • Bank faces difficulties in finding suitable women agents who can meet the application criteria.
  • Agent outlets may act as center of excellence for providing complete digital banking services (payments, purchase, transfer, savings and credit) to the rural citizens of the country.
  • Public-private partnerships with Union Digital Centers by a2i under the ICT Division and Bangladesh Post Office helped to achieve some quick wins in customer acquisition and agent network expansion.
  • Partnerships with government entities facilitate more prospective businesses for the bank within digital space.
  • Agent banking is more cost-effective than any other digital financial services in Bangladesh. Higher transaction limit, cost and bio-metric security were the top three factors for users’ preference of agent banking over MFS.
  • The range of service offering from agent banking is greater than mobile financial services (MFS) channel. Agent banking extends full range of banking services to the last mile citizens whereas MFS do serve only digital payments without any savings and loans products.

Transitioning customers from OTC money transfer to financial wellness

In Bangladesh, the OTC trend is very similar to other Asian mobile/e-money markets, such as Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia, where OTC transactions made up the vast majority of transactions and served as a significant accelerator in each market.

However, we should keep it in our mind that MFS agents offering Cash in and Cash out (CICO), money transfer and bill payments services do not essentially create access to formal savings, credit and insurance for the last mile deprived people.

Bank Asia Agent Banking has been serving the rural citizens through a right set of value chain ‘Payments, Purchase, Transfer, Savings and Credits”

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What constitutes a viable business model for small scale savings?

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

Problems of high poverty rates and financial exclusion in sub-Saharan Africa, the correlation between them, and low formal savings rates, remain a major concern.

The market potential of various low-income segments to save is poorly understood by many formal financial service providers (FSPs). Customer and potential customer needs – and how much they can and/or wish to afford to pay to meet those needs – are inadequately reflected in FSP’s business models, customer interfaces and interactions. The resulting poor customer experience gives rise to very high incidences of dormancy and inactivity in account usage. This represents a significant drain on bank costs and undermines potentially sustainable business cases in delivering accessible financial services to these segments.

Why reading this new learning paper ?

This paper highlights 3 different business models for small scale savings including key revenues and costs drivers developed by Centenary Bank in Uganda, Lapo Microfinance Bank in Nigeria and Advans Microfinance Bank in Ivory Coast

Download the Learning Paper

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2022 ESG Financing Summit

2022 ESG Financing Summit | ESG financing
A real momentum and uptake

About the event

We are proud to invite you to the WSBI ESG Finance Summit 2022.
Our aim is to bring together leading policy makers and executives from the financial sector to discuss the prevailing market and regulatory trends in sustainable finance.
As an association that brings together leading financial institutions from around the world, we are confident that the ESG Finance Summit 2022 will be an important platform for the financial industry to address ESG finance.

What to expect on 26th of September:

starts at 4:00 PM CET with supported languages: English & Spanish

Panel “Tools and practices for responsible finance. A Global Overview from the financial industry”

What to expect on 27th of September:
starts at 8:00 AM CET with supported languages: English, Chinese & Arabic

Panel 1 “Regulatory approaches to ESG finance”

The need to finance the global transition to sustainable development is constantly growing. Financial industry is required to gain a deeper understanding of the relevant context and regulatory requirements, for which they need to build their own expertise.
What determines the state of the market today and how should it be regulated?
What changes at the micro- and macroeconomic levels can the widespread use of sustainable finance lead to?

Panel 2 “Integration of ESG factors into the risk assessment system”

How are ESG principles integrated into the financial products? How do ESG factors integrate into the risk assessment system? What do analysts rely on in this process? Parameters and case study.

Panel 3 “Tools and practices for responsible finance. Overview from financial industry”

The speed and quality of the development of the responsible finance market depends not only on regulators, but also on the financial industry themselves, or rather, the degree of their clients’ interest in the relevant products and services. What do clients need to support sustainability initiatives?
What products are financial institutions ready to offer to their customers?
What are their differences and what do they depend on?

Which of the parties – the financial institutions or the client – should act as a motivator in the creation and offer of ESG products?

How and what products of responsible financing can support not only the “green” but also the social agenda?

Co-organizers

WSBI-ESBG

Driven by the three “R’s”​.With roots in 1924, WSBI-ESBG members enjoy a long history of socially responsible banking around the world. Although organizational structures vary from country to country, they each share certain values in their business models, embedded within the three “R”s.

The Union of Arab Banks

The UAB is financially, administratively, and an organizationally autonomous entity and serves as a comprehensive organization representing the Arab banking and financial community. giving key support to Arab Banks, financial institutions, economic organizations, and banking institutions with mutual support and connections to the Arab world. Member of ECOSOC United Nations – New York, accredited at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), supporting Member of United Nations Environmental Program-Finance initiatives (UNEP-FI) – Geneva

The Union of Arab Banks Website

Asian Financial Cooperation Association

AFCA shall be a regional non-government and non-profit international organization registered with China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, mainly composed of financial institutions, associations of the financial industry, government related agencies, and relevant professional service agencies as well as individuals in financial field from Asian countries and regions on a voluntary basis.

Asian Financial Cooperation Association WEBSITE

Singapore Fintech Festival 2022

Singapore welcomes you to the 7th edition of the Singapore FinTech Festival

SFF will bring together the global FinTech community to engage, connect, and collaborate on issues relating to the development of financial services, public policy, and technology. As the world’s largest FinTech festival, last year’s edition brought together over 60,000 participants from 160 countries.
SFF is organized by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Elevandi, and Constellar and in collaboration with The Association of Banks in Singapore.

Why attend SFF

1. Learn from 300+ expert teachers in formats ranging from plenary addresses to intimate, curated summits.
2. Network with participants from 7500+ organisations through our dedicated meeting lounges and event app, the official industry party, and 50+ side events across the week.
3. Meet with 300+ exhibitors spanning from web3 technologies to sustainable finance solutions and from growth stage startups to leading FinTech companies.
4. Contribute to the advancement of the industry by interacting with policymakers and regulators spanning 50+ jurisdictions.

SFF 2022 Theme

Building Resilient Business Models amid Volatility and Change

With the global economy experiencing a surge in inflation and facing risks of a significant slowdown in growth, many FinTech firms are striving to stay resilient and viable. Key stakeholders comprising government leaders, regulators, financial services leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and technology leaders will take stock of the drivers of change and examine three key questions at SFF 2022:

Viable: How are organizations building and redefining business models that can be more resilient to volatile market conditions?

Responsible: How are organizations balancing corporate responsibility and profitability in order to achieve greater stakeholder satisfaction and engagement?

Inclusive: How are organizations designing inclusive business models that cater to the needs of the unbanked and underbanked?


Persona Segmentation Toolkit

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

Data is an essential tool for creating customer-centric financial products and services that are sustainable for financial service providers and truly work for low-income customers.

To drive inclusive finance in Nigeria, EFInA and WSBI’s Scale2Save programme are launching the Persona Segmentation Toolkit which allows bankers to use the EFInA financial access data, demographic, and socio economic household data in a simple, practical way.
The toolkit is an online interactive data portal to support market development and data-driven product development

The advantages of the toolkit :

  • Determine the size of business development opportunities specifically for under-served market segments, such as smallholder farmers, informal traders, and young people.
  • Offering insights into customer characteristics, such as livelihoods, income, and financial portfolios
  • Support strategic business development discussions and segmented product innovation process.

 

Access Toolkit

A guidebook and video will help financial sector professionals, consultants and researchers to navigate the portal

Watch the VideoBrowse the guidebook

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An opportunity for the banking sector to work with informal savings groups in Morocco

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

Télécharger l'étude de casDownload the case study

Tontine, an ancestral practice, is tending to modernize : thanks to digital technology

Tontine, an ancestral practice, is tending to modernize thanks to digital technology.
The objective of the research is to conduct a qualitative and quantitative study case based on qualitative and quantitative identifies opportunities related to the launch of a digital tontine offer. Tontine from an ancestral practice to a modernized version thanks to digital technology
Download the study in French or English to access key findings around mobile payment, funding sources, participation to informal savings groups, smartphone and mobile internet penetration in Morocco.

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Leading and managing change to reach low-income savers in Nigeria

Scale2Save Campaign

Micro savings, maximum impact.

Download the case study

Leading and managing change to reach low-income savers in Nigeria | A case study of LAPO MFB June 2022

In August 2018, LAPO Microfinance Bank partnered with the World Savings Bank Institute (WSBI) to develop and implement a change management programme to underpin its launch of the savings product, My Pikin & I (MPI). The five-year programme scale2save (S2S) programme, managed by the WSBI, promotes financial inclusion. Its aim is to aid financial institutions to target those who are financially excluded, and to encourage the unbanked to open accounts and build a savings record giving them access to transaction banking and other financial services such as credit or insurance. When this succeeds, it helps increase self-esteem, self-confidence and entrepreneurship.

LAPO Microfinance Bank, a Scale2Save partner, is a Nigerian lender with over 7,000 staff and more than 500 branches throughout Nigeria, serving over five million clients. In 2018, as part of its collaboration with the Scale2Save programme, it introduced a savings product backed by health insurance and scholarship grants for those maintaining sustained balances.

This was a major mission extension for LAPO; when LAPO lends money as a microfinance institution, a customer arrives at the branch with empty pockets and walks out with cash, leaving the risks at LAPO. but in a savings rationale, the situation is reversed: the customer arrives at the institution with cash aand walks out with empty pockets, assuming the risk that his/her funds will be safeguarded.

To succeed as a deposit-taker requires that the customer has much more faith in a financial institution, to trust it with her or his hard-earned savings. To assume this new role, the institution’s customer advisors must gain understanding of the customer, deploy empathy, and work harder to build the trust of the customer in the institution. Communication must be clear, transparent and consistent.

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