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A journey in making small scale savings work

A journey in making small scale savings work
​The following blogpost by WSBI Senior Project Manager Weselina Angelow was published this week in the Africa Finance Forum Blog

>> See the Africa Finance Forum blogpost ​ 

>> Learn more about WSBI consultancy services

​​Photo: Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) in rural Uganda work with WSBI member PostBank Uganda to move savings into a formal bank account. ​​​​​​​​​​​

BRUSSELS, 22 April 2016 ​​

​​By the end of 2020, all 110 WSBI members set an ambitious plan. They aim to reach 1.7 billion customers and 400 million new transaction accounts​ by then. The work really kicks off this year, starting from a base level of 1.4 billion people who seek banking services from WSBI members every day.

It's news in a way, but it's also part of an evergreen story –​ WSBI's longstanding commitment to provide an 'Account to Everyone'​. Twenty-five focus countries under the Universal Financial Access (UFA) need to address this most. We've set out through our member savings and retails banks to tackle the issue of the unbanked and underserved in 17.

Financial inclusion matters to an increasing number of players. With support of a sponsored programme, WSBI in 2008 wanted a fundamental question answered: what would it take to boost financial inclusion through the WSBI network of postal and savings banks? Driving WSBI's member support today to achieve the next set of UFA 2020 goals means taking lessons from this work on board.

The WSBI programme ​aimed to increase formal savings services for poor people at 10 WSBI member banks across the globe. The number of active accounts swelled within five years from 1.2 million in 2008 to 2.8 million in 2015 in six of ten selected countries generating deep insights into the drivers and barriers of account usage.

Regular active account usage turned out to be much more difficult than first thought and account dormancy remained an elephant in the room. The core of the challenge was threefold: affordable pricing and low population densities put limits to the banks for providing a sustainable and accessible solution, plus there was a growing need to offer more convenient and intuitive services. Questions arose that demanded an answer. ​

>> Read more of the blogpost at Africa Finance Forum ​blogpost

Financial inclusion; Digitalisation