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Author: Hans Dieter Seibel - e-MFP founding board member 2006-2015
As the European Microfinance Award 2020 on ‘Encouraging Effective & Inclusive Savings‘ moves to its final Selection Committee and High Jury stages, and the announcement of the winner during European Microfinance Week in November, e-MFP will be publishing pieces from various experts who have worked in Savings over the decades. Beginning with this one from Hans Dieter Seibel, a pioneer in the field – “In 1963 I went to Nigeria for a study on ‘Industrial Labor and Cultural Change’. In my interviews with factory workers, I found that many saved in a saving club, an ‘esusu’, and were looking forward to establishing their own small enterprise with esusu savings. Nigeria has a flourishing SME sector, spanning everything from hairdressers to app developers, from restaurants to hotels, and from welders to film production houses. Informal savings clubs and, more recently, microfinance banks (now organised in the Nigerian Microfinance Platform, which visited e-MFP in February), all savings-led, are their main sources of finance”.

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Author: Daniel Rozas
Last week saw two nearly identical financial scandals hit two very different parts of the world. One was the revelation that Wells Fargo, one of the leading US banks, had falsely created some 2 million accounts for customers who never asked for them and were largely unaware of their existence. The other was about banks in India secretly depositing 1 rupee (0.015 euro) into their customer’s accounts. What’s remarkable is the sheer silliness of the scandals – for the most part, this was not a case of money being stolen or fraudulently taken from customers. Instead, the scandals were being driven by the need to meet targets. In the case of Wells Fargo, staff were under pressure to meet sales goals. In the case of India, the banks needed to comply with government targets aimed at expanding savings accounts to financially excluded populations. In both cases staff managed to meet the targets, while completely missing the objectives the targets were meant to achieve. The financial writer Matt Levine put this brilliantly: “Measurement is sort of an evil genie: It grants your wishes, but it takes them just a bit too literally.”