Through a myriad of programs and partnerships, FINCA Canada is working to expand financial inclusion worldwide.
Financial inclusion refers to the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to disadvantaged and low-income segments of society. In this way, they are being included in the financial services industry.
Without access to basic financial services, people in poverty are unable to perform many common functions that could drastically improve their lives. When they are financially included, they can start to build assets and take other steps to improve their standard of living. They can save money, qualify for a loan to expand a business or by a home, have a safe way to make payments to schools or doctors, and so much more.
FINCA Canada works in partnership with FINCA International who is the founder and majority shareholder of FINCA Impact Finance (FIF)—a global network of microfinance banks and financial institutions spanning five continents. Through FIF, FINCA International provides responsible financial services through physical bank branches, agent networks and a variety of virtual systems. This hybrid “touch-tech” business model allows FINCA to maintain personal relationships and trust with clients and expand financial inclusion to as many unbanked people as possible.
FINCA opens brick-and-mortar branches in many rural areas that may not have other banks nearby. This creates access to banking for many people who previously did not have a physical bank location within hours of their homes.
FINCA extends its reach through banking agents. A banking agent is a local merchant—like a hardware store, grocery stand or corner shop—contracted by a bank to process clients’ financial transactions. When a client visits a banking agent, she is able to perform many if not all of the transactions she could make in a branch.
Mobile phone penetration is on the rise in every corner of the world. FINCA is building mobile banking applications that allow clients to access their accounts from even the most basic cell phone. Mobile banking allows us extend service deeper into rural areas and gives all clients the ability bank when and where they please.
FINCA understands how important the development of new and innovative technologies are within an increasingly digital world. That is why we are committed to developing partnerships with social enterprises focused on responsible fintech solutions that can be scaled and hence increase financial inclusion.
Kuunda Digital is single-mindedly focused on solving a common issue among banking agents. Agents can only perform the services on which people rely, such as deposits or withdraws, if they have sufficient liquidity in their real or virtual accounts. If an agent’s balance is depleted, she has to turn customers away – a loss of income for the agent and a bad experience for the customer. Kuunda created an overdraft protection product to address this issue. This protection helps merchants complete more transactions, enabling more clients to access their money when they need it.
Stories of Resilience
Financial inclusion is a crucial component in the fight to end poverty. By providing the ability to tap into past income (through savings) or future income (through loans) or to deal with loss (through insurance), families are better prepared to weather potential financial crises and make the transformation from everyday survival to planning for the future.