By Dipo Olowookere
FINCA Microfinance Bank, as part of efforts to deepen financial inclusion in Tanzania, has commenced an awareness campaign showcasing the importance of saving and educating customers on how the new technology works.
FINCA said it hopes that with this service, customers can open a savings account from their mobile phones in less than five minutes without leaving their homes. With their free accounts, customers can set savings targets – like paying for their children’s education – and earn free mobile airtime as they achieve their goals.
“We recently launched HaloYako, an innovative mobile savings account that is easy to use, convenient to access, free from fees and tailored for low-income business owners for their future investments.
“It took FINCA 20 years to reach 900,000 clients evolving from a micro finance to a fully-fledged commercial bank. In two weeks of launching the HaloYako platform, 30,000 people have opened accounts. This goes to show how FinTech plays a critical role in lowering transaction costs and expanding access to financial services,” Managing Director of FINCA Tanzania, Issa Ngwegwe, stated.
According to the 2014–2016 Tanzania National Financial Inclusion Framework, the level of formal financial access in the rural areas of Tanzania is 8.5 percent compared to 23 percent in the urban areas and totally excluded rural population is 60 percent compared to 45 percent in urban areas.
Also, the ninth edition of the Tanzania Economic Update highlighted the country’s extraordinary progress in bringing financial services to 62 percent of its population today compared to 11 percent in 2006, making it a regional leader in the use of digital financial services and putting it on a solid footing to achieve Universal Financial Access by 2020
Hundreds of thousands of low-income people have gained access to financial products including credit, savings and money transfers through leveraging of technology to bring financial services closer to the unbanked.
Despite these significant developments, full financial sector integration continues to elude Tanzania, and the argument is that to promote and sustain financial inclusion growth there must be mobilization of savings to allocate them to households, businesses, and government for productive investments.
FINCA Microfinance Bank says it believes that for markets to work well and correctly, every customer is entitled to fairly priced and transparent financial products—along with information to empower them to make educated decision for their financial future.
“FINCA’S 30 year-old global mission has been to improve our customer’s standard of living with products that serve their best interests. Technology is enabling hundreds of new entrants into banking — and many bring sorely needed innovation and fresh ideas,” said Ngwegwe. “But there remains a risk that in the drive for profits, financial services can lose sight that we exist to serve our customers.” This makes commitments to social responsibility for corporates more important now than ever.
FINCA says it believes that listening to people is the best way to understand the needs of a community and that the best solutions to our continent’s most pressing challenges come when local entrepreneurs are empowered to become change agents for their communities.
“We connect communities to entrepreneurs and support access to affordable life-improving products through FINCA loans. By doing so, FINCA is at the center of coining solutions for some of the most challenging development issues of our continent,” explained Ngwegwe.
There is still a lot of work to be done. Access to financial services in developing countries would offer more of the world’s poor the opportunity to feed themselves and increase their potential income. “FINCA is proud to be an essential partner in the financial inclusion revolution,” the bank chief added.
Universal Financial Inclusion has been a goal of responsible financial service providers for decades. With an innovative technology product like HaloYako, FINCA is closer to a day where every Tanzanian, no matter where they live or how much they earn, not only has financial power, but it is accessible at the palm of their hands.
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