Connecting the World's Poorest People to the Global Economy: New Models for linking savings groups to formal financial services

Despite the many benefits that CARE’s Village Savings and Loans schemes bring to poor communities, they are not a panacea. As groups mature they seek the security of a bank account, or wish for larger loans than the group can provide. This report looks at eight different models that CARE has explored to connect savings groups with formal financial services. Including Barclays, Vision Finance, Vodacom and Mwanga Community Bank, Orange and Equity Bank and Jubilee Insurance.

High uptake of savings, credit and insurance products have allayed concerns that products might prove too expensive for very poor communities. A total of 4,200 groups, or 105,000 individuals have been linked to the new products developed. Businesses too are benefitting, with increased customer bases and strong repayment rates. The report does recognise however, that overall transaction costs of linking savings groups to formal institutions remains high, albeit mobile banking offers opportunities to reduce this cost. The report also recommends that customer protection must be maintained. It outlines a set of ‘Linkage Principles’ that CARE has designed to help guard their interests.

  • Countries: Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, United Republic of, Uganda
  • Published: February 2013

Related Publications

Delivering formal financial services to savings groups: A handbook for financial service providers

This handbook is a reference guide for financial service providers, for the effective design and delivery of financial services for savings... Read more...


Briefing paper to the UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group on Financial, Digital Inclusion and Property

Over the past year CARE has been advising the United Nations High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment on what actions need to be taken to rapidly accelerate women’s economic empowerment outcomes and ensure we meet the SDG targets and... Read more...


Resilient markets: Strengthening women’s economic empowerment and market systems in fragile settings

Functioning market systems and a responsible and responsive private sector are critical to livelihoods, autonomy and well-being. However, they are both heavily impacted by crisis, and women, who face greater barriers to economic activity than... Read more...


Women’s leadership in Cocoa Life communities

Emerging best practices of women’s leadership within cocoa farming in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire

This report of an extensive review of the Cocoa Life program’s approach to promoting women’s leadership... Read more...