Four out of five adults in Africa are un-banked, how do we get them to retail banks?
Peter Frank EshunTecho-Functional Officer Ecobank Group
1 point. Voted up by John Ahrens
Well, you can bank the 4 in 5 adults when the banks offer banking products and services that address the needs of the un-banked. In all honesty, I get a bit irritated hearing CEOs of banks talking about the large un-banked population when they are generally doing little or nothing to develop products and services that cater to the needs of such people. The truth is, the majority of the currently un-banked people won't be profitable within the current business models of our banks. They have little to save, won't transfer huge sums that will fetch the bank income, etc. The day we get serious about banking the un-banked we'll see results. Even the banked aren't particularly getting much value on their banking other than safety of savings. I think the banking sector is the least innovative. Shamefully identical products make me wonder if there's any real attempt to differentiate based on real customer needs that aren't currently being addressed. I hope I'm not being hard on the banks. Samuel Darko, Ghana
May 23, 2012
 

John AhrensDirector WCDP
Perhaps you are asking the wrong question. You might ask, how do we get retail banks to the people. Most major banks are not interested in rural banking or microfinance... the returns are not enough for them.

Alternately you might ask, how do we get them into the banking sector, period. Perhaps credit unions, savings and loan programs, and other local micro finance programs that offer savings options. If all they can afford to borrow is $20, they will not have the interest of the retail banks.
May 18, 2012
 

Judith TaylorSales Manager Software Africa
Given the retail banks attitude to customers, it's probably better that most people don't use them. The Indian model comes to mind as it is pro-poor
May 23, 2012
 

David Bernard-StevensPresident / Program Officer Leader Development Group/Women for Justice in Africa
I have to agree with my friends above. If banks learn in the short term to be truly for the poor and less on the bottom line and help create small jobs and businesses, the long term would be bright with plenty of customers because the banks truly cared about people and not just their own profits. Until this happens, the "unbanked" will continue and rightfully so. If you (banks) what to really know how to accomplish the above I will be more than happy to train and develop leaders within your industry that you so desperately need as does the world. :-)
May 23, 2012
 

Peter Frank EshunTecho-Functional Officer Ecobank Group
There is also real market for mobile apps in Africa. My start-up, Streemio, is building a mobile service that runs on apps. We can talk about that in some more detail. I think we need some pioneers to show the range of possibilities and before long we'll see an app revolution. Smartphone sales are going up which means the number of people to serve with mobile services (apps or mobile web) is on the rise. Most people who currently have data plans do little aside Facebook, twitter and news, and because most of the more exciting services have geographical restrictions, people in Ghana are unable to enjoy them. There's a lot of potential for mobile developers willing to craft locally-relevant apps, with viable business models. Other big requirements for success are investor funding and some amount of 'patience'. We're approaching the inflection front. Who could, for example, have predicted the BB 'revolution that we're seeing?
May 23, 2012
 
From Samuel Darko, Ghana - Peter Frank Eshun 6 years




Peter Frank EshunTecho-Functional Officer Ecobank Group
the naked reality of African banks with primary focus on enormous profit dawns on us daily. Sadly, all of our banks innovation is geared towards profit optimization, but really, i feel there lies a huge business potential with seemingly unproductive clientele "the unbanked". Until, banks tailor their products to meet the needs to the bigger unbanked population, they will continue to swim in their deceitful profit with the perceived productive few. And like you correctly stated, apart from security on savings, do the banked populace get real value for their deposits/investments?
May 23, 2012
 

Peter Frank EshunTecho-Functional Officer Ecobank Group
At my former place @ GCB, we have a locally tailored microsavings product - Kudi Nkosuo, dats for market women and similar workforce. I also knw of EB-Accion's )kyeina Nti. But the real question, are these products sustainable and does it adequately meet the dire needs of the target clients?
May 23, 2012
 
Are the market women aware of such products? Relationships are grown.Do i see the banks doing that with the unbanked category, i dont see that. I have my bankers checking on me regularly. Do i see the pretty ladies go to the market to visit their clients? again i dont see that happening. If the banks make them feel important, they will spread the news. Ghana is attracting a lot of foreign investors because we at GIPC are making sure that even the least project feels welcome to invest in Ghana and they are the ones selling our country to their friends. - Edem Seshie, Ghana - Peter Frank Eshun 6 years




ERIC FAPOMFREE LANCE
I trust banking the huge unbanked African chaps is a matter of including my folks in the wealth creation spree globalization has been enabling and doing good to all of us and future generations. There are lots of ways to follow this route. One way which may not create dependence and kill their free will as aid does, might be via Carbon Manna. A system based on existing infrastructure using simple mobile text message to transfer micro credits on recipients' mobile devices, as a monetary incentive for my African chaps to cut their carbon emissions via the adoption of high efficiency cooking stoves. For more details, please read here: http://ericfmyblog.blogspot.it/2012/04/carbon-manna-acknowledged-in-wsj.html
May 23, 2012
 

Sturmius MtweveProject Coordinator SUYAPIP
Right, currently there has been the intervention of mobile banking technology by telecommunication companies (like M-Pesa in Kenya, Tanzania and many other African countries). For it has been so easy for the un-banked people to own handsets, I think it is an opportunity for banks now to get into partnership with these telecoms (which have the highest outreach) and develop the most innovative mechanism which will integrate the un-banked into the banking sector without affecting banks profit generation as well creating environment in which these communities will not see themselves isolated in the banking sector.
May 23, 2012
 

Koios Associates LLCConsulting
Banks may become increasingly irrelevant as mobile phone payment systems such as M-Pesa in Kenya become more widespread. At a minimum, banks will need to develop services that can be offered via a mobile platform to increasing numbers of people who have no need to open a traditional bank account.
May 23, 2012
 
 
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