A summary of the third day of the 2020 Scale2Save Peer Review Workshop
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BRUSSELS, 28 October 2020 – Day three of the Scale2Save 3rd Peer Review Workshop brought more than 50 participants together to share insights from Day 2 breakout sessions and take a look at what's ahead for the programme. Four feedback sessions tackled learnings from the day prior summarised below.
Five executives of Scale2Save programmes shared their insights. They joined other participants in a roundtable on how Covid-19 affects change within organisations.
Examples explored during the session came from Scale2Save partners Al Barid Bank and Barid Cash Morocco, FCMB Nigeria, Advans Cote d’Ivoire, and BRAC Uganda Bank Limited. One key takeaway from the session: For banks to drive change, it is helpful to have “champions" in place, who own the process and drive it going forward in the long term. Build teams of change champions and ambassadors is indispensable for ensuring long-lasting engagement.
From Al Barid Bank and Barid Cash, driving change took place from the centre, within the organisations to the regions. For FCMB, they saw it important to have a steering committee with regular meetings, led by the CEO and managing director on a weekly basis. Within BRAC in Uganda, they upgraded to a second-tier institution last year, which required them to change their way of working. They picked change champions at all levels, with regional champions feeding information up to top levels. At Advans Côte d’Ivoire, change agents were selected at different levels of the institution. They saw a need to have change managers who really hold management skills. During the Covid-19 pandemic, managing efforts in a virtual way makes it difficult to maintain energy, with physical meetings a key to success. Another issue was staff turnover, which meant several people have to be involved in the topic and understand the process to ensure continuation when staff turnover occurs.
Success factors like special committees and change champion teams must have processes that foster regular communication exchange. Team composition matters too.
Those at senior, mid level, and frontline must be complemented by teams at central and regional level, with regional having access to central teams.
Q&A session with partners
The question and answer session brought much exchange. WSBI's Laurie Dufays sees change occurring by making a whole “ecosystem" work. Three 'Ps' are needed: Permission, protection and power. A CEO must give staff permission for people to take initiative and to be totally empowered and enabled to take decisions. She agrees that change also needs champions: They occur at the second phase. Ambassadors cascade down the change among those within bank. Banks should identify the change champions with ambassadors to ensure change goes to every level. Disseminate the need for change throughout the bank. Need also exists for champions within the executive committee of the institutions. A change manager must create the link between ambassadors and champions, whose roles need to be well defined, ensuring all what is happening is in line with strategy of the bank.
Steve Peachey of Savings at the Frontier Programme (SatF) added: A learning product desperately needed sector on aspects of change mentioned in the session, especially or similar large-scale Programme’s lack change management structure.
Scale2Save’s Weselina Angelow: Scale2Save partners are in an advantageuous position to get change management support. A change management toolkit, a playbook and a learning paper is coming, which maps out who needs to do what, provides guidelines to FSPs and how to tackle change. Work with Scale2Save partners will help feed into this learning product.
M'hamed El Moussaouir from Al Barid Bank noted that change management within the institutions had to address Covid-19, especially communication to raise awareness between the central committee and regions. Supervision of process needed hand holding too, and there is need to see what staff members’ daily work looks like. Al Barid followed its teams close at every level. When events take over, like Covid, solutions are found more quickly, which normally take much longer in less pressing times.
Questions institutions need to ask when selecting the best-suited agent network model
Questions asked during the session explored regulatory and technology issues as well as value propositions.
What motivates customer utilisation of the agent network? The answer includes the need to bring value added services to the network, such as lunching small amount loans at network to attract more clients. It is important to make agents feel like staff for example by providing financial education and other benefits like business insurance.
To what extent does agent banking influence financial inclusion and particularly savings mobilisation? The group concluded that the agent is trusted and accessible, make the product sale (opening) process simple limit paperwork when possible. There needs to be a strong value proposition as well as a need to link commissions to savings mobilised. In the long run, it is important to spur interest by agents to the quality of the customers they bring in.
Shared agent infrastructure is feasible though feared by financial institutions because of unknowns like regulatory compliance, data protection protocols, marketing and communications as well as third-party risks
The choice of an agent and the monitoring model is guided by hubs and their distribution, personnel structure to support the channel, agent network layering as well as the maturity of the network.
To solve challenges summarised, third-party due diligence may work, as well as aa strong support structure, among other factors.
The impact of Covid on agent network management are: Business case, supervision and support to agents.
The post-Covid agent network management will be more digitised and hybrid between agent, payments and merchant services.
Small loans to agent banking network – the figures
Michael Nuwagaba from Centenary Bank said that small-amount loans through agent have a 98 per cent repayment rate. In terms of utilisation, they have seen in eight months steady growth by 40 per cent within their agent network.
Ciprian Panturu from Finca Uganda commented on shared platforms, noting it is highly important to have trust and parties must be clear on who does what. As he put it: "Put cards on table and establish trust."
Scale2Save's Weselina Angelow noted how proud the programme is of FINCA and Centenary bank for sharing their network, which took courage. They provide an example that shows how when banks share they can bring down costs for customers while sharing customers. It improves the value proposition that creates a doorstep service for the clients; customers in most cases do not care who provides the serves them as long as it works.
The situation in Uganda is unique, not pure shared infrastructure, its leveraged (Finca leverages what Centenary has). The next step is launching within the programme a purely bilateral infrastructure, said Kimathi Githachuri, Local Technical Specialist. He added: "It is important for an institution to seek out agent coverage where they do not have them."
Stephen Peachey of SATF added that the real prize is efficiencies in agent banking case. MNOs are quite open to business case to their own networks. Any possibility to bring money into agent network in rural areas are valuable.
LAPO Microfinance Head of Agency Eghosa Egharevba noted that for now, her institution has not started disbursing loan products via agent locations. Customers have need for it and they are looking at it now.
This session looked to understand the critical role of data within organisation and examine challenges to data processing and data analysis. The central question asked was "How to make better use of customer data?"
Session participants explored the challenges in data processing. Regulatory issues pose a big one. In terms of collection, quality of data must be reliable, because garbage in is ultimately garbage out. On processing, infrastructure oftentimes proves inadequate, with IT system upgrades sometimes needed. In addition staff may have limited skills. Storage and security are challenges too. Firms must ask themselves if they have enough data storage space. Also, how do they access and control this data? Costs too play a part in data processing, with investment that organisations must make. Finally, institutions must make human investment too, with the demand for data managers increases, one needs qualified people.
Addressing the challenges
To address challenges mentioned, organisation data ownership remains key, from collection to analytics and beyond; staff need access. A cultural aspect must be taken into account too, as women may not feel comfortable to share personal information in some countries. Clearly defined data needs matter also, and how much information is needed both internally and from donors. Too much data may kill capacity to analyse. Collect data that is essential – really needed.
There is a continuous need to train and upgrade staff on data management and business intelligence tools across the whole customer journey. One example: Reports should not be one-offs, but make the report usable and scalable for other departments within the institution. In addition, invest in centralised tool to integrate data from various systems: data from phones and other sources could be highly valuable. A good tool can really help to draw in all of these sources in to one “universe". Relatedly, ensure data-driven decisions are aligned with business objectives: Good data management requires resources. If done right, they boost service levels and give real return from investment.
One participant added: “Well captured customer data can contribute to 80 per cent of an organisations' business prospects that would be otherwise unexplored opportunities. The outcome from that would 'even out' the business case."
Scale2Save technical specialist Agnes Fall responded to the human resource dimension. She added that a small piece of info can have a huge impact. These new tools make it possible for anyone who is trained for it to extract their own reports without IT. This leads to efficiency.
Redia Filali-Nasseh from Barid Cash added that unstructured data can be harnessed by organisation, including data that identifies people and product. One area is SMS/phone and things on the website – consumer behaviour. It gives insight in instances like when cards are blocked; knowing customer behaviour affects how banks provide services that customers need. He noted: "Data management is an upfront cost, the analysis of structured and unstructured data that leads to payoff in the end."
Edwin Ocharo from Kenya Postbank noted that the importance of taking into consideration the best solution today, which could be rendered obsolete in a short period of time. Tech evolves. Be mindful of it. He also suggested that "it is really not ownership of data by everyone in the organisation [open data i.e., unhindered access] but ownership of collected & processed data on a 'need-to-know-basis' as well as ensuring the necessary security clearances are available to avoid misuse."
Nambasa Joyce from Brac Uganda Bank added that aspects of open banking is something to consider.
Ciprian Panturu from Finca Uganda stated: "For using Data (all the way to 80% of business opportunities), Change Management is needed! Reports can change drastically based on quality of data. Data matters for customer and organisation change management – but that means training people to better harness data/reports for change management. Its important that not just management get access to analytical tools, but also down to people on the ground (they need to be trained)– they need to see and act on their data, be accountable of their performance. Doing so unlocks the power of the data."
Stephen Peachey: "Interesting challenges for IT and compliance departments that see data as a defensive tool, much driven by regulatory issues. How do we create 'Safe zones' for certain data for people like front-line workers. So much info is lost because IT ddepartments cannot take unstructured data into the core systems, and regulatory authorities frown on it. SATF document helps address this. If you don't tackle this, banks will be left behind."
This session explored the ease of the customer journey during Covid-19 through a roundtable and breakout sessions with digital customer journey examples from some of the Scale2Save partner banks.
Ease of customer journey during Covid-19
Al Barid Bank in Morocco explained their multi-channel approach, with use of mobile apps for digitally connected customers and ATM and payments cards for non-digital customers. The bank provided internet access so that customers can download apps in branches. They noted that the central bank allows circumvention of some Know Your Customer processes and paperwork, which Al Barid Bank hopes remains post-Covid.
Advans Côte d’Ivoire approached digital by enabling people to withdraw fund to their mobile wallet from their own account. During the Covid-19 outbreak, they continued to educate farmers on how to harness their mobile devise to conduct transactions. They engaged with third-party service providers and addressed challenges with staff and customers.
Engagement with third-party service providers: staff and customer challenges
Barid Cash in Morocco was the first in the market to offer payment cards, although some customers are not at ease to use these cards. To address this, Barid Cash hopes that the central bank can provide support to educate the population. One challenge during Covid was that people may face difficulties downloading mobile apps, may be turned off by costs and may feel a lack of trust with the institution.
For BRAC, the national payments act involved all stakeholders in Uganda – including telecoms, fintechs, and banks – to come together and share data, reduce costs and generate trust amongst customers.
Handling customer feedback
Participants provided their experience with customer feedback, with Bard Cash noting they use digital means, such as WhatsAPP. At Advance: Digital was not always an option. Instead, they relied on surveys/polls dedicated to special customer segments conducted by roving staff.
Tackling security trust, fraud monitoring
Advans uses text messaging to communicate with farmers. The institution also wants to test voice messaging to see whether it changes way farmers build trust and engage with the service offer, something that FCMB is already rolling out. At Barid Cash, they see deep transformation to safely engage customers, working on all levels: Marketing, compliance, and AML/ATF. They note how important it is to keep the physical contact with clients who still want to come to the branches. Multi-channel customer management is crucial – branch, kiosk, agent, online, mobile. Despite everything being digitised, stay in touch with customers throughout their journey.
Has interoperability improved the digital transformation journey?
BRAC in Uganda notes that government pushes for shared agency infrastructure rather than going full mobile; not all FSPs are engaging because of cost. At Advans, communication by all stakeholders is a key point of concern for customers.
Takeaways: Overall success factors and drivers in the digital journey
Success comes when there is constant customer engagement, starting from awareness creation, moving into building and maintaining a relationship, educating along the entire process, and finally using customer data to better segment and serve. Institutions must also motivate customers and connect to their non-financial needs. In addition, full digital outreach is needed, but multichannel approach remains key. In fact, some customers need physical contact. A multi-channel approach also helps to build scale.
On data use, harness it to obtain a 360° picture of the customer. More specifically, account opening versus sustained use. Also, leverage 3rd parties to share data, reduce costs, and communicate better. The group reminded attendees that customers want a service to be simple, affordable, transparent, at speed as well as innovative.
FSPs to always ask themselves: What are the real drivers of a sticky supplier-customer relationship? Is the relationship driven by ongoing value for the customer?
Weselina Angelow led the final session on what Scale2Save partners can expect in the next two years. Below an outline summary.
Drive active inclusion at projects
• Account activity booster for customers and agents
• Digital channels operate smoothly and customers are empowered to use them
• Finding a sustainable solution to driving change, playbook & toolkit
• Improve quality of data collection
• In-depth analytics of the business case drivers
• End – term evaluation Q4 2021- Q3 2022
Share Learning & Best Practice
• Dissemination activities with case studies, blogs, panel discussion at international and at country level
• Make new website & Foleon research page a meaningful source for project partners
• More thematic mini-workshops in 2021
• Closing Event 2022
Research the learning gaps
• Case studies on the state of the sector, COVID impact on innovative financial inclusion models with FinMark Trust
• Customer research to understand S2S's contribution to building financial resilience Q3 2021 – Q2 2022