By Daniel Rozas
Exploring the Business Models Behind Microsavings
The financial and business models for collecting savings by microfinance institutions have been relatively little explored in literature. This paper seeks to fill the gap by evaluating deposit-taking MFIs that rely on two primary types of savings: those that emphasize raising funding (through large deposit accounts) and those that emphasize service (through small deposit accounts). The findings suggest that geographic location, level of economic development, and regulatory environment all play an important role in dictating the types of models that are likely to be adopted. Different models also have substantially different funding and operating costs. Finally, net outreach levels in terms of number of savers served appear to be little affected by choice of model, though in many cases outreach may be skewed by widespread presence of empty accounts, which overstate the number of active depositors, and understate the average account balance.