The Gates Foundation has made some major investments in the area of finance over the past few years. Now, based on their findings and experiments, they are making a big push into the area of micro-savings. Traditionally rural finance has focused on providing micro-credit services to the poor. Only recently have some of the micro-finance organizations started extending their services to include savings and insurance. In most cases the issue has been local regulations and banking controls.
In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal – Giving a Lot for Saving a Little – the author points out several issues why savings schemes for the rural poor have not taken off. Among the issues identified:
- Strict regulations on entities that hold deposits
- Lack of remote branches that allow easy access to money
- Too costly for traditional banks to provide services for the size of accounts Continue reading