Thursday, June 25, 2009

The need for financial services in poor communities

What is it that is really needed by poor communities in as far as financial services are concerned? Do people with a low income and very little money really need financial services? Because if they do not need financial services, what are we busy with... this banking the unbanked thing. So, I thought that I would list the things that people need in communities with limited resources:
  • They have the need to be able to receive remote payments electronically, without having to take a day out and to travel. Many people in poor communities need payments from families working in cities or elsewhere or use government grants as the means for subsistence. The act of receiving these payments are often expensive and complex.
  • The ability to be able to save towards a target is not really available to poor people. Even if some-one cultivates the discipline, the actual mechanisms (putting cash in a bottle etc.) is not convenient or safe. Many people want to buy something big or are planning a major expense (e.g. sending their kids to university etc.). The only way that they can do this is by means of targeted savings.
  • If something happens (like an accident or an unplanned expense for instance), poor people also need access to lending products.
  • I do believe that poor people also need to be able to have a record of their financial transactions. This is important from a number of perspectives, but the most important is that such a transaction records will assist in financial education. It is (for instance) extremely difficult to produce and manage a budget, if no record of financial transactions exist.
Many studies seems to indicate that the need really exists, but what do you think?

1 comment:

aline said...

The biggest challenge is now to create the infrastucture (with a leading role of telecom networks) that will help to deliver these services