Financial Inclusion in Action

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Bending the Rules for Better Customer Service is probably a Good Thing

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Recently, a team of qualitative researchers interviewed sixty mobile money agents and users in Kenya and Uganda to understand the drivers of important behaviours like non-compliance.  The findings were intriguing since it was clear that the driver of agents breaking some rules and regulations was their ambition to provide excellent customer service and thus increase… Continue reading

Over the Counter (OTC) in Pakistan: The Challenges and the Way Forward

In the first part of this blog, “Over the Counter (OTC) in Pakistan: Why It Works”, we examined the drivers behind the roaring success of OTC-based services in the country. This blog examines the challenges this success has bought, how the providers are responding and the prospects for the future of branchless banking in Pakistan. 4)… Continue reading

Embracing A Market-led Approach To Developing Product Concepts

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According to the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Database, more than 2.5 billion adults do not have an account at a financial institution. Among the many factors that are responsible for this high level of financial exclusion, poor design of financial products is key. Why, then, is it so difficult to design financial services for… Continue reading

Innovation Overkill: Why Product Innovation in Financial Inclusion isn’t Always the Right Move

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Amid all the renewed talk about product innovation and a client centric (or what we at MicroSave have, for over a decade now, called a “market-led”) approach to financial inclusion, I find myself wondering if we have lost sight of two key aspects: The differences between market leaders and market followers The challenges of advancing through the… Continue reading

Market Readiness for Mobile Money Interoperability

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Interoperability of mobile financial services potentially offers great benefits for the wider ecosystem. The value to consumers is obvious. This, in turn, leads to wider adoption; higher transaction volumes; greater velocity of money in the ecosystem; all of which are advantageous to service providers. It is now well established from both MicroSave’s Helix Institute of Digital Finance and CGAP studies that… Continue reading

Agriculture Finance Isn’t as Risky!

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Agriculture financing is a risky business for many financial institutions. Under its agriculture finance services, MicroSave works with financial institutions (FI) to develop appropriate products and a quality agriculture loan portfolio. Amhara Credit and Savings Institution (ACSI), a leading MFI in Ethiopia, with support of MicroSave grew its loan book from 1,300 loans to 36,000… Continue reading

Disruption is Simmering in Kenya

Should Microfinance Go Digital?

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“Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come”- Victor Hugo Recently, a new partnership has emerged between digital financial service providers and microfinance institutions to address the challenges of financial access among the un/under banked populations globally. The partnership can potentially offer benefits to not only the two partners but also other… Continue reading

Two More Revolutions Underway in Kenya

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It is first quarter results and investors briefing season in Kenya, providing a chance to see how the market is evolving. And for the country’s leading financial services players, that evolution has been a profitable one. But behind the celebration of M-PESA’s remarkable payments revolution, and the continued growth of M-Shwari’s mobile banking services, there are two other important… Continue reading

Over the Counter (OTC) in Pakistan: Why It Works

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A customer walks into a shop and tells the retailer … “I would like to send money to [another city] …”.  The discussion continues until, after verifying the customers original CNIC (Computerized National Identity Card) to meet KYC/AML requirements, the shopkeeper transfers money from his account. Once this is done, and the customer has confirmed that the recipient has indeed… Continue reading