MicroLead partner NBS Bank is the fourth largest commercial bank in Malawi. In 2009, NBS Bank decided to deepen its outreach to rural areas and mobilize low-cost deposits. It partnered with Women’s World Banking, an international NGO with expertise in developing products and channels to reach women, and developed a unique savings product opened at the customer’s doorstep and serviced through a network of proprietary agents called Bank Pafupi.

The Pafupi product is a mobile savings account designed to remove the barriers to formal savings for low-income people in rural areas, especially women. Accounts can be opened in under ten minutes at the clients’ doorstep, no paperwork required, and women can bank in their own neighborhoods. Clients can withdraw or deposit cash at any shop that serves as an NBS Bank agent, and they also receive ATM cards. NBS designed marketing materials for Pafupi with financial literacy lessons in the local language. The bank discovered that to reach women, they also needed to design marketing materials that targeted women specifically. Watch this space for the upcoming case study on NBS's experience.

Because of NBS's success with agent banking, MicroLead facilitated a study visit to the bank with nine other MicroLead partners. You can read about the visit here and the debrief session on agency banking here. You can read more about NBS Bank in MicroLead's Digital Financial Services Toolkit #4: Develop Your Own Agent Network. You can also find a case study on NBS Bank's experience with small balance deposit mobilization here.

Watch the Pafupi commercials below.

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