On October 31st 1924, World Savings Day—originally named World Thrift Day—was established to promote a worldwide initiative encouraging saving money. Almost 100 years later, this initiative is still extremely relevant, especially in developing countries. In fact, according to the The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI), in some countries only about 10% of the population have savings accounts. However, growing your savings is an important life tool to not only invest in your future, but also your community.
FINCA is an advocate for cultivating savings for individuals and their communities, as saving is interwoven into FINCA’s mission. Alleviating poverty needs to be carried out with sustainable and long-lasting solutions that will last for many generations. FINCA provides financial services and tools to low-income individuals in developing countries, which are not usually offered in these areas. One of these tools is savings accounts.
Savings accounts are sustainable and beneficial for low-income individuals and their communities because they provide security for their futures. An account can provide a means for future financial and/or business opportunities. Savings also serve to be especially useful when needed for an unexpected emergency, securing housing, or paying for education. And when these individuals have savings to afford these things, communities as a whole benefit from more stability. However, many services, such as education and housing, are harder to come by in developing countries, making savings accounts increasingly more valuable.
Another large part of FINCA’s savings impact is through financial technology. Many low-income communities have limited access to the modern day technologies we interact with everyday, so bridging that gap between technology and users is critical. FINCA works to do just that by creating financial technologies that people in the developing world do have access to, which makes starting savings accounts more accessible—especially in communities that are more isolated. In many countries where we work, various forms of mobile banking technology have been implemented and spread quickly. The savings accounts that are used through mobile platforms have many different functions depending on the user, so some cater towards rural farmers or entrepreneurs.
Developing personal savings is an exceedingly essential step in increasing the financial security and wellbeing of people and their communities. When more individuals become financially independent, their communities benefit directly and can prosper along with them. FINCA works hard, through many of our own along with other initiatives, to increase the number of people with access to savings accounts. With this in mind, we continue to recognize the significance of World Savings Day every year, and every day.