Linking savings groups to banks - What works, what doesn’t, what’s next? Recent insights from Five African countries (2015)

A webinar hosted by Care International UK to learn about a recent review of the opportunities and challenges of linking groups to Barclays banks and other financial institutions in Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya. The webinar - "Linking savings groups to banks - What works, what doesn’t, what’s next? Recent insights from 5 African countries" also provides the chance to hear from other Charter signatory members Fidelity Bank and Grameen Foundation on their recent experiences of linking groups.

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Banking for billions (2010)

This report by Barclay and the Economist Intelligence Unit examines the global landscape of financial inclusion, recent trends and the impact of the economic downturn, and assesses the potential role of new technologies and delivery models. It concludes that although there is a strong groundswell behind efforts to improve financial inclusion, there are also numerous barriers preventing further progress, including a lack of education, outdated regulation and policy, and a cultural mistrust of formal financial providers.

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Banking on Change: Breaking the barriers to financial inclusion (2013)

This report by Banking on Change partners Barclays, CARE International and Plan UK examines the barriers to financial inclusion in developing countries. It examines the potential boost to the global economy that large-scale financial inclusion represents, estimating that developing countries could receive a yearly savings boost of up to $145bn if the 2.5 billion adults worldwide who are ‘unbanked’ participate in savings-led microfinance.

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Connecting the world’s poorest people to the global economy (2013)

CARE has tested eight innovative models for linking informal savings groups with financial companies in five African countries, with exciting results that could help connect the developing world’s remaining ‘unbanked’ populations with the formal global economy.

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Innovation, inclusion and trust: The role of non-profit organisations in microfinance (2014)

This report by Plan, Innovations for Poverty Action and Yale asks: Is there still a role for the non-profit sector in financial inclusion for the poor? If so, what exactly is the area where a subsidy is warranted?

The report focuses on three important roles for non-profits in financing the needs of the poor: to innovate; to reach those still not served by the for-profit financial sector; and to build trust between the poor and for-profit institutions.

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Kenya: Linking the cash box to the bank – Formal banking of savings groups through mobile money (2013)

Learnings from a partnership between CARE, Equity Bank and the mobile provider Orange to meet the banking needs of rural savings and loans groups.

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Tanzania: Linking savings groups to mobile banking (2011)

CARE report exploring the use of mobile banking, through the M-Pesa mobile phone payment service supported by Vodacom, for savings groups in Tanzania.

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Uganda: Linking savings groups to funeral insurance (2011)

When CARE Uganda was planning to launch its pilot project linking VSLA members to formal banking, they found that the need for funeral insurance was the number one priority among members.

Funeral expenses can run to as much as $300 in these districts, including buying a coffin, paying for the burial and providing food for mourners, who often visit the bereaved family for a number of days. This publication describes the process of linking VSLA members in Uganda with funeral insurance providers.

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Village agents: Self-replication and sustainability of CARE’s Village Savings and Loan Associations (2010)

With a goal of reaching 30 million of Africa’s poorest people with financial services by 2018, CARE’s Access Africa programme has developed a low-cost model designed to ensure the self-replication and sustainability of Village Savings and Loan Associations in rural and urban settings across the continent.

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Youth savings groups, entrepreneurship and employment (2014)

This report by Plan UK examines how youth savings groups can contribute to the fight against youth unemployment through alleviating constraints to entrepreneurship and enabling young people to engage more effectively in market opportunities.

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Sarah's story

Sarah Mutanda, a 23 year old farmer from Uganda
© Jon Spaull / Banking on change

Sarah Mutanda, a 23-year-old farmer from Uganda © Jon Spaull / Banking on change

“It has empowered us, especially the ladies, to do business. I am able to earn a living. I can provide for my family, and my husband no longer has to provide everything.”

Read Sarah's story
"This is the sort of thing that banking should be doing - it's about real people, taking out real loans, to do real things. Thank you to Barclays, Plan and CARE, and to the community for all you are doing. This sends out a great message to Tanzania, and to all of Africa."
Former US President Bill Clinton
"[Banking on Change's] core principles are simplicity, trust, responsibility and integrity. It starts with saving, rather than credit. Just as the bank crash occurred on a tide of testosterone, the new wave of banking is female-led and cautious. But its most radical feature is that it is happening among the world's poorest, the once unbankables."
Editor of the London Evening Standard Sarah Sands
"Linking informal savings to formal banking creates both social and commercial benefits. It has the potential to transform the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people, while at the same time, enabling us to support more customers and grow our business."
Barclays Group Chief Executive Antony Jenkins
"One of the most significant things we've learnt from this partnership is that we can't fulfil the scale of this ambition alone. We need further collaboration between banks, NGOs, governments and technology providers. That's why we're calling for input and support to establish international principles for savings-led financial inclusion..."
President and CEO of CARE USA Dr. Helene Gayle
"Here at Plan, we recently reached the one million members mark for our savings groups worldwide. Banking on Change, our partnership with Barclays and CARE, has been a vital and flagship project. We believe that young people must have better access to trusted financial services if they are to develop, but with so many people still lacking access to banking solutions, it is a problem that we must solve together..."
CEO of Plan International Nigel Chapman