Knowledge sharing—Mobile-banking takeaways by UGAFODE

During its first workshop, MicroLead Expansion (MLE) partners gathered to share their experience with mobilizing savings. Mobile banking was high on the agenda of all participants as it is the delivery channel many MLE partners would like to develop to increase savings mobilization and outreach to remote rural areas. Pius Mukiibi, Projects Manager at Uganda Agency for Development (UGAFODE), was one of the participants. Here he shares his impressions of the workshop, particularly on the topic of mobile banking.

“I was particularly looking forward to learning how others had implemented their services and the solutions they had identified to select the right technology to work with agent networks, for example. The sessions opened our eyes to new ways of working and allowed us to brainstorm with peer organizations. I really appreciated the Equity Bank presentation and the visit to their agents. During the field visit, we were able to observe clients and agents in action as well as ask questions to the Agent Network Manager from Equity Bank Rwanda. From these discussions, I learned more about how to handle liquidity risk and issues. The partnership solution Equity Bank implemented is really interesting for me as this is a solution we have not yet come across. What was particularly interesting is that, even though they outsourced the agent liquidity management aspect, they remained very much in control of things as a result of a very efficient monitoring system.

“Outside of the sessions, I met with Fidelity Bank Ghana and was very impressed by their agency banking approach and the large number of clients they had reached in very little time. Since the workshop, they are part (sic) of the people I have stayed in touch with to continue learning from their business model.

"We also had great presentations by UNCDF’s mobile and branchless banking expert, François Coupienne. This session was really helpful in understanding how the branchless banking ecosystem works. The way he underlined the role of each of the many actors in the ecosystem was enlightening. This will definitely influence how we build partnerships. It also inspired us to create new types of products to stimulate the usage of mobile banking platforms in ways in which we had not yet thought. These learnings (sic) and new ideas are precious for us at this time as we are rolling out our first mobile banking pilot targeting savings groups.”

Founded in 1994, UGAFODE Microfinance Limited is a regulated deposit-taking microfinance institution that is serving the rural and economically active poor. With both individual and group lending in place, UGAFODE received a license to launch deposit services in 2011, one of only four such institutions in Uganda. It currently has 12 branches, focused in the major commercial centres of Kampala, Mpigi, Kyotera, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Ishaka, Ntungamo, Kagadi, Ibanda and Rukungiri.