Antonique Koning, a microfinance specialist at CGAP, blogged about our work on promoting financial inclusion for low-income women in Nigeria through the use of savings products and innovative outreach and delivery strategies. Excerpt below:
While most of these women are familiar with the products and services of banks, many do not consider them appropriate for their needs. And even if they have a bank account they often prefer the agility and convenience of informal mechanisms that are widespread in Nigeria, like savings collectors (e.g. alajo, akawo) or savings groups (e.g. Esusu). In partnership with Women’s World Banking, Visa and EFInA, Diamond Bank developed a simple savings product called “BETA” that borrows some features from these informal services: the service is provided at the doorstep by a service team, there are no minimum balances or hidden fees, and weekly prizes are awarded. “BETA” offers a low cost banking service without requiring the usual paperwork, ID and references. Account opening is instant. With a photo and basic data captured through a mobile phone application clients receive their account number and PIN via SMS and a starter pack with ATM card.