Financial Inclusion in Action

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Burgeoning ‘Typhoons’ in Digital Financial Services

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Typhoons are great engines of destruction. When a typhoon makes landfall it often produces a devastating storm surge that destroys everything in its path without mercy. The best defence against a typhoon is an accurate forecast that gives people time and means to get out of its way. It is therefore prudent to watch, watch… Continue reading

PMJDY Bank Mitr Assessment: The Supply-Side Story

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Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is now the world’s most successful financial inclusion scheme.  This blog highlights the supply-side findings (specifically focused on Bank Mitrs (BMs) or bank agents) of the final round of MicroSave’s PMJDY assessment (Wave III) conducted in December 2015.    The BM network is the backbone of PMJDY scheme. The… Continue reading

Guiding Financial Institution Strategy: Working on Small Data

There is a worldwide movement towards the use of Big Data[1] across many industries, including financial services. Many financial institutions in the South now have economists reporting to the Board, and a select few, including Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank, have Chief Information Officers. Data warehousing is a common terminology, even if evident in few… Continue reading

Delivering Quality in Financial Services – Redefining Customer Service

Let’s face it: we’ve all had problems with our bank or financial service provider; there have been times when we’ve sat across from a Customer Service Officer (CSO) and been unhappy about the answers we’ve been given. A few years ago, this very challenge led my colleagues and myself to think that there was a… Continue reading

Competition in the Kenyan Digital Finance Market: Digital Deposits (Part 3 of 3)

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This is the third blog in a three part series, which compares digital financial service offerings in Kenya. The first blog focused on mobile money services, the second one analysed digital credit and this one analyses digital deposits. Digital deposit accounts are a controversial topic in digital finance. Many analysts note that mobile money providers cannot offer interest on the balance… Continue reading

Rethinking Microfinance, This Time with Rules

Microfinance has an image problem. It has had for a while now—instances of corruption, unfair interest rates, cover-ups, suicides due to coercive collection tactics—and the real victims are inevitably not the microfinance institutions (MFIs), but their clients: poor people caught in spiralling debt and little hope of legal recourse or financial relief. Many directly involved… Continue reading