MIcroLead worked with three institutions in Ghana: Fidelity Bank, GN Bank, and Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans to expand access to savings in Ghana, and particularly, to link informal savings groups to banks and other formal financial institutions.
Fidelity Bank has been working with CARE International to link Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) to the bank through a combination of agents and mobile banking. Now, VSLA members can use a mobile phone to access their savings accounts. Fidelity’s agents are third-party providers, working outside the bank, and conduct cash-in/cash-out transactions for savings groups. To ensure clients get quality customer service, Fidelity retains an agent support officer, who works in the field to monitor agents.
Ghana’s GN Bank is one of the newest members of the MicroLead family, partnering with CARE International and MicroLead in 2016. “Due to network and other challenges faced by Fidelity Bank it was obvious that we would not achieve our targets solely through Fidelity Bank,” says Noel Da’Cruz of CARE Ghana. “We therefore brought on board the other banks who have more visibility in our operational areas.”
As with Fidelity Bank, CARE worked with GN Bank to link savings groups. The VSLA accounts link directly to GN Bank branches. GN mobile bankers use mobile phones to collect account data at the field level, and this data is transferred to the head office. The mobile bankers are GN staff, who deposit into their branch every day and act as an interface between the savings groups and the head office.
GN Bank has a broad and deep network of branches and is one of the more visible banks in the country. “When people see the physical structures of the bank,” says Noel, “they develop some trust, rather than just seeing some people who say they’re from a bank in Accra. So we approached GN Bank, which already had mobile bankers looking for clients on their own, and proposed helping them link with VSLAs.”
Working with MicroLead, Sinapi Aba transformed from a microfinance institution to a savings and loan institution. It's also made tremendous progress on the digital finance front. With the assistance of Opportunity International and MicroLead, Sinapi Aba rolled out mobile phones to its roaming agents (Mobile Bankers) to support the collection of deposits. Digitizing the doorstep savings collection process brings additional convenience to customers who receive this service. Sinapi Aba also launched a partnership with all the leading telcos in Ghana, making Sinapi Aba a “Super Agent” to support the various Telco agent networks. In doing so, Sinapi Aba is extending its impact through its roaming agent network by helping reload e-float for Telco agents. Finally, Sinapi Aba fully launched its SMS banking product to give customers easy access to statements, transaction receipts, alerts, and notifications. You can read more about Sinapi Aba's experience with digital financial services (DFS) in MicroLead's DFS Toolkit #1: Use Mobile as a Tool.
You can read more about the impact of MicroLead in Sinapi Aba here. Read Sinapi Aba's case studies on transforming from an MFI to a savings and loan, client journey mapping and small balance deposits by clicking the buttons below.
Get the latest news, resources and insights delivered directly to your inbox