WSBI and its members are strong supporters and implementers of microfinance activities. Microfinance is the provision of small-scale financial products and services targeted to low income segments of the population. It is unique among economic development initiatives because it has the ability to contribute directly to the people’s economic and social progress, by allowing them to invest and multiply their scarce assets.
WSBI’s members are large stakeholders in the microfinance market. They have essential assets that make them ideally equipped to be the leading providers of microfinance services in their home countries:
- They are accessible because of their geographic proximity given their widespread branch networks and nationwide coverage. In many countries, savings and postal savings banks are the only financial institutions that reach extensively rural and remote areas
- They have relatively low requirements for accessing their services. WSBI members have a wealth of assets in terms of branch infrastructure and institutional knowledge, that allow them to have economies of scale and thus to offer affordable financial products.
- They provide a whole range of financial services in a sustainable manner. Research has shown that WSBI members are the biggest providers of savings accounts (1.1 billion) and significant providers of loan accounts (30+ million). Some WSBI members are also active in offering remittance products and many of them have specialized micro-insurance products.
WSBI is actively involved in the effort to expand microfinance in a number of ways including its most recent project: