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Embedded Education: Taking Financial Education to Scale PDF Print E-mail
Written by RFN   
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 14:28

The past few decades have seen an impressive expansion of financial services to the world’s under- and unbanked populations. This expansion has not been without its challenges, including low-income customers of many financial service providers (FSPs) falling into considerable over-indebtedness¹ or signing up for services they do not use.² MFO’s own research³ and the research of others suggest that the limited financial capability of FSP customers is one of the factors behind these challenges. Hundreds of millions of people are gaining access to formal financial services with no education in basic money management principles and ways to maximize the usefulness of the new services to which they have access.4

Extending financial education (FE) to consumers is vital in empowering them to make informed decisions about the financial services they use and how they use them, including avoiding over-indebtedness and signing up for accounts they never use. But reaching the massive number of clients in need of FE in a way that is accessible and practical is a tall order. The Monitor Group report suggests it could cost from $7 billion to $10 billion using traditional, classroom-based approaches to provide education just to those who already have access now —a sum that is 10 to 15 percent of the total current asset base of microfinance institutions worldwide. If access to finance were extended to include the world’s 2.7 billion unbanked, the cost of building financial capability would rise further by a factor of at least three.

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Zain launches Sudan’s first MFS with Bank of Khartoum PDF Print E-mail
Written by RFN   
Friday, 22 August 2014 10:47

In a first of its of partnerships between the banking and telecommunication. Zain and Bank of Khartoum celebrated in the launch of (Hassa) service.

This service is a new technical mean that allows all mobile phone users to complete almost all financial transactions and operations through this service, including money transfers and purchasing different services like paying bills and atm services without the need of opening a usual bank account in any bank.

The minster of Sciences and Technology Dr.Tahani Abdallah clarified that with Allah's will that this integrated work will be successful because it is the efforts of various partnerships with leading managerial and banking expertise that are continuously updated and renewed.

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Cross-Border Banking in Africa – What are the Opportunities and Challenges as African Banks Expand Across the Continent? PDF Print E-mail
Written by RFN   
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 09:41

Cross-border banking has been an important part of Africa’s financial systems since colonial times. While it has long been dominated by European banks, its face has changed significantly over the past two decades. African banks have not only significantly increased their geographic footprint across the region (see Figure 1) but have also become economically significant beyond their home countries in a number of countries across Africa. As their banks have expanded across borders, South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco, and Kenya have emerged as the dominant regional financial centers (see Figure 2). Yet despite this increase in cross-border banking activity within Africa there has been a lack of comprehensive research and analysis on this topic. In a new policy report we try to fill this gap by documenting the growth of cross-border banking in Africa and assessing the risks and benefits of cross-border linkages as well current supervisory arrangements for cross-border supervisory coordination.

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300 Households for One Year – Results of the Kenya Financial Diaries PDF Print E-mail
Written by RFN   
Monday, 18 August 2014 12:09

Understanding the cash flows and money management practices of the poor is a requirement for effectively designing financial services. Complex income scenarios and impossibly-thin budgets make finances for many poor people complex. It takes time and resources to capture such information in a meaningful way. Insight into these practices was sought in the ambitious Kenya Financial Diaries project, which included biweekly interviews with 300 lower-income households in Kenya over the course of one year. Results from the project were released earlier this week.

The Kenya Financial Diaries, a joint research project by Bankable Frontier Associates and Digital Divide Data, comprehensively tracked the transactions of households across Kenya using a customized, “intelligent” questionnaire. The questionnaire was tailored to each household’s composition, income sources, and financial devices used. As new information became available, the questionnaire adapted accordingly. Along with the quantitative records on their financial lives, researchers interviewed household members on their perceptions, stories, and life events affecting their finances.

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Ten Lessons on Tracking Changes in Clients’ Lives PDF Print E-mail
Written by RFN   
Friday, 08 August 2014 10:10

Some financial service providers (FSPs) operate with a double bottom line in mind: achieving both financial success and social progress. In a recent brief we argued that FSPs that implement strong social performance management (SPM) practices, including defining and tracking indicators to measure the changes in the lives of their clients (in other terms, client-level outcomes), are better placed to actually achieve their social goals. Without reliable data on how customers’ lives are enhanced or affected by products/services, businesses cannot track progress against their social goals. By clearly defining and systematically tracking specific outcome indicators, such as poverty level, assets, health, and women's empowerment, FSPs can do a better job of measuring how they are doing.

Data collection can be complicated, and FSPs have limited resources and many competing priorities. With these constraints in mind, the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF)reviewed reports on the experiences of dozens of different microfinance institutions that have attempted or are attempting to track client-level outcomes. We also interviewed over a dozen financial services providers, investors, and rating agencies who have experience with collecting and analyzing client-level outcomes data. Ten "lessons learned" emerged from this research, which serve as a model for other FSPs seeking to integrate social goals into their business models.

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