Whow, I remember the times so clearly before having been hijacked by the European Investment Bank. I was an independent consultant hired by one of the consultancies contracted by the IFC to develop the business case on digital financial services (DFS) with 5 (the final study was done on 9) microfinance service providers. We were visiting institutions in DRC, Madagascar, Senegal, etc to learn about their…
- strategic objectives of implementing DFS
- the planning and implementation process;
- internal change management;
- the impact on business growth and sustainability
- determinants of scale, outreach and adoption of such services.
The excel sheet which served to capture the process at each institution was miles long and I seriously had to improve my excel skills to be able to keep up with the complexity of it.
Unfortunately I left the project in 2015 and moved on to the European Investment Bank.
The results of the longitudinal study conducted are now available in the report “Aligning expectations: The Business Case for Digital Financial Services“. I must admit I am not surprised and the results are very much in line with what was to be expected, e.g.,
“registrations do not translate into customer activity” –> really? not sure who expected a previously unbanked person to immediately understand the value proposition of an e-wallet or feeling comfortable withdrawing in small amounts rather than one large amount per month.
“agent recruitment and activity targets deserve more attention” –> exactly! Who would have thought a previous shop owner in a rural area can turn into a stellar bank client advisor in a day?
“higher-than-expected agent management fees coupled with lower-than-expected transaction volume”–> whow! the shop owner dedicates time and effort to process financial transactions on behalf of others, ie., he/she is not available to serve hi/her own customers. Plus he/she will have to leave his/her shop to visit and deposit excess funds at the branch. Yes, being a banking agent increases the foot traffic into your supermarket, but it seems not sufficiently that you would process the transactions for free.
These are just a few results of the report which recently came out. Unfortunately I had not been able to complete the journey on this research.