Savings and the MFI portfolio: Bridging the gap between the needs of the poor and the capability of the institution
For over 30 years, microfinance institutions (MFIs) have been successfully serving some of the poor and poorest people around the world, primarily with credit products. Generally, however, MFIs struggle to successfully add savings services to their portfolio of financial products. Whether offering savings as a way to provide additional valued financial services to clients or to have a reliable source of funding, or both, MFIs must learn to bring together people and technology and build the capacity and infrastructure to grow this business. In this article, we explore how market research, product design and testing, marketing, technology, alternative delivery channels, and an MFI's ability to transform from a credit-led institution to a market-led institution can assist an MFI to reach poor savers with products that are accessible, affordable and secure.