Historically, people living in poverty in most countries have been excluded from formal banking. Savings were kept in and around homes, or held by collectors who charged high service fees. To provide savings accounts to people who have never had access, Opportunity is building a network of scalable, sustainable and accessible banks throughout the developing world. Since 2001, Opportunity has built 13 regulated microfinance institutions including nine banks.
For Opportunity clients, savings bring stability and a means to move away from subsistence living. Interest-bearing savings accounts provide a secure, convenient way for clients to manage money and prepare for a crisis or a business opportunity. Medicine for a sick child can be purchased with a few dollars in the bank. A new roof can be purchased when money builds up over time. A business can be expanded and diversified to increase income. For example, Grace Msowoya of Blantyre, Malawi, used her savings to become the first woman distributor of potatoes in her market.
To help clients choose the best way to grow their savings, Opportunity has designed a range of microfinance savings products based upon flexible minimum deposit amounts, interest rates and terms. Our banks use these savings deposits to make loans to other people working their way out of poverty, which helps the banks become sustainable and puts more money to work in the community.