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The SEEP Network
Annual Conference

September 19 - 21, 2016


This track is sponsored by Citi. 

Over 2 billion people who live on less than $2 a day lack access to safe and affordable savings services. While debates continue about the impact of microfinance on poverty reduction, it is widely accepted that access to savings services is an important survival tool for the poor. Savings can help smooth incomes, deal with emergencies, accumulate lump sums to pay for life cycle events, and take advantage of economic opportunities as they arise. As such, savings is a critical asset for the poor – young and old alike – and an important ‘on ramp’ to financial inclusion and support enterprise development. During the past decade, there have been numerous efforts to bring savings products and services targeted to the poor to the market through a variety of providers, delivery channels, and marketing strategies. However, there continue to be a number of barriers that hinder the broad expansion of services that are cost effective, sustainable and scalable.

You can also have a look at the Plenary Session: Savings on a Global Scale - How Can We Do Better?


Technology Innovations for Savings Groups: Improving Program Cost-Effectiveness
The very poor have limited low-quality access to financial services and limited capability to manage household and business finances. Integrating technology innovations into Savings Group programs can ensure greater financial inclusion of the poorest by decreasing program costs and increasing program efficiency and quality. This workshop explores technology innovations for Savings Groups currently underway by Freedom from Hunger and CARE including e-training, m-training and mobile collection of financial and social performance data. Participants who attend the workshop will see demonstrations of technology innovations appropriate for Savings Group and other microfinance programs and explore together their advantages and disadvantages.

Power point available here.

Client-led Approaches to Designing Sustainable Savings Products for Youth
MEDA and WWB will facilitate a panel to discuss the internal and external challenges and successes of savings product development.  MEDA’s Responsive Product Development approach is based on building strong institutional capacity in order to better deliver new products. WWB works with its partners to build the business case for youth savings; to ensure institutional alignment for new financial products; and then to design, test, and implement financial products based on in-depth client research with a focus on women and financial inclusion. MEDA and WWB will illustrate the challenges and benefits faced in these approaches through detailed case studies of partner financial institutions' experiences launching youth savings products.

To Save or Not to Save: Overcoming Behavioral and Institutional Barriers
Drawing on behavioral economics and experience working with fifteen formal and informal financial institutions, Freedom from Hunger, Making Cents, New America Foundation and Save the Children set out a framework for understanding and mobilizing savings in hard to reach populations. In particular, the panelists seek to shine light on the psychologies and cognitive skills that motivate and block saving, current practices in “nudging” savings, and balancing innovation with existing institutional practices. The panel uses thought-provoking questions, open dialogue, and group discussion so that participants can more readily relate lessons learned to their own experiences.

Power point available here.


 Getting the Savings Behavior You Want: Lessons from India
While initial uptake of the savings program at Cashpor (an MFI in India) is robust, we are seeing an increase in dormancy.  Behavioral economics shows that traditional methods of incentives and financial education are not yielding the results needed to ensure customers are actively saving. In this session, Grameen Foundation and ideas42 actively engage participants in understanding the most relevant psychologies that matter when designing savings products. We share examples of innovative products that have used behavioral concepts in their design and end the session discussing how participants can use this approach in their own programs.

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