People living in poverty often lack access to safe, reliable ways to manage the little money they have. As a result, they face de facto exclusion from the financial system the rest of us rely on. To address this problem, a unique philanthropic project, funded by the Gates Foundation and led by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Bankable Frontier Associates, formed partnerships with five large banks in the developing world. The approach was straightforward: research and implement new approaches to providing poor people with the financial tools they deserve.
This philanthropic-public-private collaboration focused on sustainable financial inclusion—developing savings accounts that could accommodate the needs of the “unbanked” while also delivering a return that allowed banks to continue service. The learnings from the Gateway Financial Innovations for Savings (GAFIS) project are laid out in full in a 47-page report on-line. (See Resources, page 28.)
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