Partnership Will Deliver Innovative Savings Program Through Traditional and Mobile Channels; Help Nigerian Government Deliver on National Financial Inclusion Goals
NEW YORK, NY, Apr 12, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), Women's World Banking, Diamond Bank and
Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) today announced that
they are partnering to advance financial inclusion in Nigeria for
underserved women and provide them an opportunity to become
economically and socially empowered through access to a savings
Today, nearly 77 percent of women in Nigeria are financially
underserved.(1) Research has shown that low-income women are good
savers, but they need a safe and convenient way to save. Through this
partnership, Visa and EFInA are providing the philanthropic funding
for Women's World Banking to support Diamond Bank in developing a
commercially viable savings product tailored to the needs of
underserved women in the country. The project will include both
traditional bank branches and mobile phones as channels to deliver
"Without access to savings services, women are forced to keep cash at
home or in informal savings mechanisms -- both risky options that
could result in theft or loss," said Mary Ellen Iskenderian,
president and CEO, Women's World Banking. "Since women in developing
countries are usually responsible for managing household budgets,
gaining access to a safe way to save is often a critical stepping
stone out of the cycle of poverty for the whole family."
The Visa- and EFInA-backed project will involve three phases. First,
Women's World Banking will work with Diamond Bank to research and
understand what type of savings services Nigerian women want and need
to improve their financial lives. Second, the organizations will
collaborate on designing and piloting a product that will be
available at physical branches and on mobile phones. Finally, a
savings product will be launched nationally after a successful pilot.
In addition, financial education for women will be provided in
partnership with local community organizations.
"Around the world, there is a growing recognition that cash-based
economies are a major impediment to advancing financial inclusion,"
said Joe Saunders, chairman and chief executive officer, Visa Inc.
"Helping the underserved women of Nigeria move physical cash out from
under mattresses and into formal savings accounts -- combined with
the potential of mobile phones to enable access to these accounts --
will be a significant step toward financial inclusion in the market."
Advancing financial inclusion has been a priority for the government
of Nigeria. Last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a
commitment to reduce Nigeria's financial exclusion rate from 46.3
percent to 20 percent by 2020. In addition, the country's Cashless
Lagos Project aims to reduce the use of cash and increase electronic
"We believe this is an opportunity to prove that meeting the needs of
women in developing countries can be sustainable," Iskenderian said.
"The partners involved in this project are poised to build that
business case, while also contributing to a real and lasting impact
About Women's World Banking
Women's World Banking (WWB) is the only
global microfinance network focused on women and working to ensure
that financial institutions provide services tailored to women's
needs that are affordable, convenient and sustainable to deliver. WWB
is currently working with seven institutions in six countries to
introduce savings or adapt existing savings products to meet the
needs of women and girls.
WWB is a global network of 39 leading microfinance institutions from
27 countries. The network members are diverse in geography, size and
structure but united in the firm belief that microfinance must remain
committed to women as clients, innovators and leaders. By providing
innovative approaches that we can replicate and scale we can prove
that investing in women directly can be both profitable, and generate
positive social benefits.
For more information, visit www.swwb.org.
About Visa Inc.
Visa is a global payments technology company that
connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and
governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast,
secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency
is one of the world's most advanced processing networks -- VisaNet --
that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a
second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment
for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend
credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa uses its products,
interoperable global processing network, mobile and security
capabilities, and payments expertise to help facilitate financial
inclusion at scale.
For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.
Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) is a
financial sector development organization that promotes financial
inclusion in Nigeria. Established in late 2007, its vision is to be
the leader in facilitating the emergence of an all-inclusive and
growth-promoting financial system. EFInA is funded by the UK
Government's Department for International Development (DFID) and the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. EFInA's holistic approach to
expanding access to financial services for all, especially for low
income households is based on research, innovation and advocacy.
About Diamond Bank Plc
Diamond Bank Plc began as a private limited
liability company on March 21, 1991 (the company was incorporated on
December 20, 1990). Ten years later, in February 2001, it became a
universal bank. In January 2005, following a highly successful
Private Placement share offer which substantially raised the Bank's
equity base, Diamond Bank became a public limited company. In May
2005, the Bank was listed on The Nigerian Stock Exchange. Today,
Diamond Bank is one of the leading banks in Nigeria -- respected for
its excellent service delivery, driven by innovation and operating on
the most advanced banking technology platform in the market. Diamond
Bank has over the years leveraged on its underlying resilience to
grow its asset base and to successfully retain its key business
relationships. We have retained excellent banking relationships with
a number of well-known international banks, allowing us to provide a
bouquet of world class banking services to suit the business needs of
our clients. The Bank has a strong retail strategy aimed at creating
a niche in that segment, hence the creation of the retail division in
2008, which focuses on providing strong value propositions to the
consumer and MSME segments. The division's aggressive growth strategy
is based on developing a range of value-adding propositions,
incorporating financial products and services, including the
provision of electronic banking services. More information can be
found at www.diamondbank.com.
(1) EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2010 Survey
Women's World Banking
Fleishman-Hillard for Visa Inc.
SOURCE: Visa Inc.