News Column

New Bank Offering to Promote Savings

June 18, 2014

Anthony Langat

THE Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and Safaricom Limited have introduced a fixed deposit feature on the acclaimed M-Shwari platform.

Dubbed "Lock Savings Account", it is said to be the first of its kind in the mobile money space.

According to officials, the account will afford Kenyans at the bottom of the social pyramid an opportunity to save for a specific purpose.

The move, they said, is aimed at entrenching a savings culture in a country where savings fall below 20 percent gross domestic (GDP), the lowest in the region.

Speaking on the launch, Jeremy Ngunze, CBA Kenya's Chief Executive Officer said, "We introduced this new feature on the strength of recurrent customer feedback which suggested that we introduce a facility which would inherently instill in them the discipline required to make medium term savings towards a specific goal."

The award winning M-Shwari service was launched at the end of 2012 as a micro savings and lending facility whose primary aim was to bring more Kenyans into the formal financial services fold.

Betty Mwangi-Thuo, Safaricom'sGeneral Manager of Financial Services, concurred.

"Reports by the central bank have lauded M-Shwari as the most impactful contributor to the formal financial services sector in the history of the nation. Indeed, M-Shwari has been credited with growing to 67 percent the segment of the country's bankable population that has access to a bank account," she said.

M-Shwari has over 7 million customers who have in the last two years saved more than Sh40 billion and taken out loans worth Sh1,2 billion.

A similar service CBA and Vodacom launched in Tanzania called M-Pawa has registered 250 000 customers in the three weeks it has been in the market, underlining the disruptive power of the M-PESA proposition in the region.

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Source: AllAfrica

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