You swipe your card at the check-out and probably think nothing of it. Because you’re in the banking system, you can manage everyday transactions with ease, pay bills online if you like, move money between accounts, and withdraw cash at an ATM.
But two billion people — 38% of adults in the world — don’t have access to the basic financial services we take for granted.
They have to barter for necessities or use cash for everything. With no access to a bank, there’s nowhere secure to keep whatever savings they have. That’s why FINCA is banding together with a broad coalition of partners who also provide banking services to the very poor.
Together we are making a bold commitment to achieve universal financial access by the year 2020.
Our Village Banking 2020 Campaign to reach two billion people in five and a half years might sound audacious, but it is absolutely achievable. Because in the last three years alone, thanks to new technologies and transformative business models, more than 700 million people have gained financial access through FINCA and our coalition partners. To reach the remaining people who don’t yet have access to banking services we must keep growing, keep innovating, keep making progress.
Think about what it will mean for women like Evelyn, a mother in Tanzania whose life became a struggle for survival when her husband died. Desperate for a way to provide for her family, Evelyn began making and selling doughnuts in her small village, but she only made about a dollar in profits at the end of the day. She could only afford beans and a porridge made from corn flour, and for five years that’s all the family ate.
Evelyn could no longer pay the required school fees, so her children had to drop out. She found a job crushing stones into gravel for construction, so she left the children in charge of doughnut sales and started putting in 12-hour days doing back-breaking work. But even with her construction job pay and doughnut sales profits, it still wasn’t enough for the family to stop living hand-to-mouth.
With a $50 loan from FINCA, Evelyn quit construction and put all of her energy into expanding the family’s doughnut business. She followed the advice her FINCA loan officer gave her about business planning to grow her little enterprise. She added more pastries to her offerings, along with tea, milk, soda, and cold water. Soon her menu included full breakfasts and lunches, and she started catering for the construction workers. Her business boomed, and, finally, her hard work was paying off.
Evelyn’s income tripled because she had access to credit.
Finally, she was able to feed her family regular and nutritious meals. Today her children are thriving, and it eases her mind knowing she can take them to a doctor if they get sick or hurt. And she’s most gratified to have all of them back in school. For Evelyn, whose own education ended in the fourth grade, seeing her children successfully make their way in the world is a once-impossible dream come true. And all of this because Evelyn was not left out and was given access to financial services!
It’s such a basic thing, yet more than one in three adults globally are as yet excluded from the banking system. Village Banking 2020 recognizes that financial access is a basic building block for a healthy and productive life. It is the vital link for the poorest of the poor leading to progress in securing clean water and sanitation, electricity, better housing, education, and health care. It enables entrepreneurs to reduce business risks, expand their operations, and employ others, lifting the local economy.
Support Village Banking 2020 and spread the word about Universal Financial Access by 2020!
Having a bank account and access to financial services is having power—the power to determine your own fate and create a life you value. It gives low-income, hardworking people the ability to change their lives on their own terms, by their own initiative and hard work.