Banco W had spent more than three decades serving customers on low incomes in Colombia when we began working with them; they had a deep understanding of their market. However, as we began working together in the OPTIX project we also realized that while they understood their customers needs, their overall customer base was changing rapidly, as was the way Colombians preferred to do banking. Apps were taking over many of the transactions and tasks that were considered the foundation of traditional banking and we started working with Banco W to help them move with these rapid times. OPTIX helped with staff training and facilitated a partnership with a fintech to help connect them more directly with their customers. Watch this video to learn more about how Banco W is now working to encourage greater customer trust in the capabilities of their products and services and how their customers responded.
Since 2015 the OPTIX project has been working with SAJIDA Foundation, a non-governmental organization and microfinance institution in Bangladesh, to help them serve their low-income customers better by improving their ‘financial health.’ We worked out five ‘pathways’ that would impact three specific areas that together make for someone’s financial health: resilience when money is scarce, confidence in money management, and trust that financial institutions and products can help.
We also wanted to help SAJIDA and the other three OPTIX project institutions become more familiar with data-driven decision making, so their strategies had the greatest chance of success. This included helping them cope with change, including retraining field staff so they would feel comfortable communicating differently - and more effectively - with their customers. Watch this video to know more about how SAJIDA Foundation embraced the challenge of change and improved the way they’re doing business.
This video tells the story of Liza Khanam of Bangladesh who owns a small boutique in the Vatara district of Dhaka. We came to meet Mrs. Liza while we were working with SAJIDA Foundation, a microfinance provider and non-governmental organization in Bangladesh under the OPTIX Project. With SAJIDA, we realized that many of their low-income clients were having to travel miles to repay loans, taking them away from their stores - their livelihoods - in order to repay these loans at routinely center meetings. In order to service these people better, we worked on the integration of Rocket mobile money service with SAJIDA’s banking system. As a result, 71 percent of SAJIDA’s customers now say they prefer having the flexibility to make payments when they choose- thanks to the mobile money solution.
In order to truly improve the financial health of these customers, however, we also needed to find a way to help them save more and save better with a targeted approach as opposed to a bulk savings model. Along with SAJIDA, we re-designed a term deposit savings product called Astha to give people like Mrs. Liza greater financial control so they can save for their children’s future and also continue growing their businesses.
Altogether, the institutions participating in BFA’s OPTIX project will reach close to 1.1 million people on low incomes with improved financial services and products. In this video, Mrs. Liza tells her story in her own words about how she’s taking greater control of her financial health.