MICROFINANCE PAPER SUMMARY: “Savings and Retail Banking in Africa: Unpacking the Customer Through Demand Side Data”, published by World Retail Savings and Banking Institute, MasterCard Foundation

This report offers three case studies of how financial service providers (FSPs) can expand and improve their use of data to design customer-centric services and minimize account dormancy. The first case study focuses on National Commercial Bank of Zambia (Zanaco). Zanaco’s product design process consists of three steps: assessing customer needs, developing solutions to meet those needs, and implementing the solution. To optimize its use of internal information, qualitative research and third-party data for the first step – assessing customer needs – Zanaco maintains a dedicated market analysis department. This allows the FSP to identify trends in customer needs and competitor alternatives as well as decide when to retire obsolete products. For example, Zanaco recently began offering Women’s Banking, which includes customized general and life insurance solutions as well as non-financial services such as business links and networking opportunities.

BRAC Uganda, an affiliate of the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee (BRAC) network, has a data team that analyzes credit performance, product uptake and user experience. The team also studies national data from FinScope surveys to identify characteristics of potential customers, design strategies to reach them, and design products based on their needs.

The final case study is on Awash Bank of Ethiopia. Bank staff gathered feedback from members of the Ethiopian Diaspora regarding the financial barriers they were facing. Based on this awareness, the bank has adapted a range of financial products to target these concerns. For example, until recently, Ethiopians residing temporarily abroad could not qualify for mortgages. When the Ethiopian government finally opened up banking services to the diaspora, Awash already had a wealth of data on customer needs in this segment and could act quickly to provide highly personalized services to this group.

This is a summary of an article published by the World Retail and Savings Banking Institute and the Mastercard Foundation, May 2022, 24 pages, available at https://www.findevgateway.org/paper/2022/05/state-savings-and-retail-banking-africa.

By Saulius Simonas Ramanauskas, Research Associate

Additional Resources

WSBI homepage

Mastercard Foundation Homepage

Zanaco Annual Report 2021

More paper summaries from MicroCapital

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