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DOUBLING SAVINGS ACCOUNTS FOR THE POOR WSBI seeks to create 10 million sustainable and affordable savings accounts


01 Jun 2011


Euro & Finance

World Savings Banks Institute (WSBI) works together with ten banks in developing countries to double the number of sustainable and affordable savings accounts for the poor. In developing countries 90% of households do not have access to formal financial services. This is particularly the case in rural areas, where low population density makes a traditional bank branch unsustainable. WSBI bank members are working on alternative delivery channels to provide access to financial services to people living in remote areas and earning low and irregular incomes. The programme also focuses on adapting product design and encouraging more appropriate regulation.


Cut costs to attain sustainability: to guarantee sustainable service, financial products need to achieve a balance between an affordable price for the client and a reasonable profit margin for the bank. To achieve this goal products and processes are being carefully designed to reduce costs and focus on customer needs.


Implement alternative distribution channels: to provide financial services in areas where traditional bank branches would be unprofitable, WSBI member banks are partnering with:

·        Postal outlets and agents – established local retailers, such as supermarkets and stores – that provide financial services on behalf of the bank.

·        Mobile phone technology providers that offer money transfer services. This technology is used especially in developing countries where people have often no access to banks but do have access to mobile phones.

In addition, WSBI member banks are developing other forms of mobile banking. With much lower costs compared to a traditional bank branch, van, motorcycles and other means of transport can easily reach customers living in low populated areas and provide them with financial services.



WSBI members participating in the “Doubling Savings Accounts” programme: after a call for proposals, WSBI selected ten of its member banks to participate in the programme. Each one exercises broad geographical outreach in its country and has a strong tradition of working with disadvantaged populations:


       Kenya Post Office Savings Bank

       Lesotho PostBank

       PostBank Uganda

       Poste Maroc, Morocco

       BTN, Indonesia

       SONAPOST, Burkina Faso

       Sistema FEDECRÉDITO, El Salvador

       South African Post Office

       Tanzania Postal Bank

       Vietnam Postal Savings Service Company


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WSBI: The Global Voice of Savings and Retail Banking

WSBI (World Savings Banks Institute) is an international banking association that represents savings and retail banks and associations thereof in 90 countries (Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Africa and Europe). At the start of 2009, assets of member banks amounted to almost €9 trillion, non-bank loans to €4.3 trillion and non-bank deposits to 4.6 trillion. Together, member banks conducted operations through more than 160,000 outlets. Please visit for more information, or contact Dirk Smet on +32 2 211 11 90 (office), +32 473 42 35 89 (mobile) or via