Bringing financial services to 5.3 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, microfinance bank FINCA is breaking new ground in the supply of formal financial services to the poor by employing an innovative agent banking business model and biometric technology.
Imagine not having a bank account. You have nowhere to put your savings away safely, so you stack them in your mattress where they slowly lose value. Imagine not having a debit card or a check book. You have no other way of transacting money than in cash, so you carry your rent money in your pocket afraid you will be robbed on the way to the landlord. Imagine not having a credit card. Even if you are just a little short of cash at the end of the month, you have no means of buying food or a school uniform for your child. Imagine not having access to bank loans. The sewing machine that could transform your clothes making business and multiply your income remains just a dream. Imagine not having insurance. If disaster strikes, your house or your harvest is easily gone in a fire or swept away by flooding. At best you might be able to ask friends and family for help. If they live far away, this could in itself be a costly and time consuming exercise. At worst, you have to go see the local loan shark.
- Reeta Roy, president and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation, at the Johannesburg launch of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion.