A BANK is using innovative means to restore the culture of saving among Tanzanians especially women through piggy banks or cash boxes.
The Tanzania Women's Bank Managing Director, Ms Margareth Chacha, told the 'Daily News on Saturday' that when the bank started three years back, their research findings showed that the savings culture in the country had deteriorated.
"This isn't to say that this culture wasn't there before, it existed but of recent the Tanzanian society has seen a steep increase in funeral, wedding and family contributions that hinder people from saving," she explained.
Ms Chacha said that they thought that the best starting point to rejuvenate the culture of saving was at home and the reason why they came up with the cash bank product. She said that women being the homemakers rarely have enough money left over to save but by borrowing the English phrase 'save the coin to save the pound', many women are benefiting from the boxes.
"Since we started we have sold over 1,200 boxes at 20,000/- per each. In Ruvuma where we have no presence, we sell 24 boxes each month and in Mwanza, within three months we sold 134 boxes and 48 in Dodoma," she said.
Ms Chacha explained that they would soon introduce piggy banks with two locks specifically for groups such that the possibility of only one member having access is avoided. She explained that this product was gaining a lot of popularity and that for people who do not trust themselves with the keys to the cash boxes, the bank is ready to keep it and on a monthly basis the cash box can be taken to the bank and the customer can then deposit what they want and keep the rest.
Giving a progress report of the bank since it began in 2009, Ms Chacha said that currently the institution had capital worth 6.8bn/- and that until December 2012, it had 30,000 account owners of which 77 percent were women and 23 per cent were men with deposits worth 16.2bn/-.
Ms Chacha said that the bank gave over 25,000 people loans amounting to 33bn/- of which 82 per cent were women and 18 per cent men. "Looking at the bigger picture, we are proud that through our loans we have been to improve the lives of entrepreneurs and their families by having better housing quarters, better health care, better diets and the ability to take their children to school," she said.
The Managing Director said that though Tanzania Women's Bank wasn't exclusively for women it was unlike no other for it had special products targeting them. The products include allowing the use of thumb prints as signatures for those who can't write, allowing third parties to access loans, resident licence as a form of collateral and probably the only bank that has lent 14bn/- to people who have no collateral.