For poor women, access to a safe place to save and build assets is as important as access to loans. If we are to make progress in reaching the more than 1 billion unbanked women, it will be through casting a wider financial services net than to entrepreneurs alone, to serve low wage earners, day-laborers, farmers and homemakers. The case for expanding savings is compelling—women have access to the formal economy (often for the first time) while financial institutions have access to a new market opportunity.


Women’s World Banking knows from its research that poor women are inherent savers. Women play an accepted and expected role in the household as money managers, juggling day to day needs while making sure that school fees are paid and health emergencies are covered.


In this publication, we share the findings of our most recent savings work, including a three-year project with four of our network members. At the outset of the project titled Safe Places to Save, Women’s World Banking conducted targeted research and diagnostics in four markets (Colombia, Pakistan, Kenya, and the Dominican Republic). Four of our early studies focused explicitly on the demand and feasibility for savings services. Data were also drawn from research into the drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty carried out in multiple markets.


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