Developing Financial Products Fit for the Poor

Through the Banking on Change Partnership, CARE, Plan, and Barclays have developed new savings-led products based on a link between informal savings groups and Barclays bank branches. To date, Banking on Change has developed three different types of savings accounts and an overdraft facility. The Uwezo savings product in Kenya is a good example of a product designed with client needs in mind. By allowing group accounts, Barclays has lowered its transaction costs. Currently with the Uwezo account, withdrawals and deposits are free, there is no maintenance fee, and the opening balance requirement is 2,000 Kenyan Shillings (around US$23). But to truly scale up a product, you need an appropriate delivery channel to reach an existing large-scale market. For formal financial providers to engage in this area, more research is needed on product development.