World Savings Day and The German Financial Inclusion Story
CGAP CEO Tilman Ehrbeck recently published a blog post on HuffingtonPost.com discussing his experience with World Savings Day in his German hometown as well as the roots of financial inclusion in Germany. An excerpt follows:
In a nutshell, a new type of local, community-based financial institution started popping up in the very late 18th-century for the same reasons we saw micro-finance institutions and other non-conventional providers emerge much more recently in developing countries: because the predominant commercial banks of their time pretty much catered to big business and wealthy patricians, leaving the vast majority of the population excluded.
The German Sparkassen (loosely translated savings and loans institutions) and somewhat later theGenossenschaftsbanken (cooperatives) introduced a safe way for artisans, low-income workers, domestic employees, budding entrepreneurs and everybody else to deposit money and get credit. They early on introduced long-term savings to help provide for older-age in the absence of the yet-to-be introduced public pension systems.