It should go without saying that women are valuable players in a country’s economy. The problem is their full economic worth is often not recognized in many parts of the world. However, once women are provided greater opportunities to earn and save, they can benefit their local communities and impact national growth.

Jennifer McDonald, a product development director with the Women’s World Banking organization, explained there are ways of overcoming this barrier to women opening and maintaining a savings account. McDonald’s team worked with a Nigerian financial institution, Diamond Bank, to develop a savings program specifically advertised toward women who work in the country’s busy urban markets. She explained that there already existed an informal method of saving in which a collector makes his way around the market, gathering and storing the daily earnings of the vendors. Thus, the physical depositing of earnings conveniently came to the depositor rather than the other way around. If a vendor needs to make a withdrawal, they simply wait for the collector to make his rounds and request a specific amount on the spot. Diamond Bank built upon this well-established method of saving and offered the underbanked a formal means of saving their money.

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