We have previously discussed on this blog how consumer goods retailers can be part of the financial inclusion landscape. Today, we start to expand on that theme, explaining briefly why retailers are an exciting opportunity for financial inclusion but how that opportunity is not present in every market and, where it is present, how certain types of retailers could place themselves better to serve low-income consumers.
When we launched Jipange KuSave – a mobile-only savings product – in Kenya in early 2010, our goal was to out-compete the mattress. Back then, Safaricom’s M-PESA service was in hyper-growth phase and ramping up to become the de facto national retail payment system. But even more exciting was M-PESA’s potential as a pervasive and low-cost delivery channel for a wider set of financial services.
This post includes a detailed presentation of CGAP’s analysis of 23 firms from banking, microfinance, mobile, fast moving consumer goods, and Silicon Valley. It also describes the key features of three Product Labs which will be established by CGAP’s bank, telco and other partners.
CGAP counted 22 branchless banking services with more than 1 million registered users; we also counted more than 70 others which have not reached that threshold (as of Q1 2011). That’s about a 1 in 4 “hit rate”.
On a recent visit to Bangladesh Sarah Rotman and I met with Post Office Director General, Mobasherur Rahman, at his office in the middle of busy downtown Dhaka to hear about his foray into the world of branchless banking.