MORE than 28,000 financially excluded groups across the country are set to benefit from a new initiative billed to bridge the gap between the supply of formal services and informal saving groups.
The new model that targets Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC), Village Community Banks (VICOBA), Community Based Savings Groups (CBSG), Com- munity Based Organisations (CBO), Family and Friends Groups will link them to the bank with the widest branch network in the country.
The fresh arrangement is a brainchild of the NMB Bank which has teamed up with Savings at the Frontier (SatF)--a partnership between MasterCard Foundation and Oxford Policy Management.
It allows groups and group members to use the bank's digital advantage which gives them room to self open group and individual accounts through their mobile phones, manage members' activities without a physical visit to branches.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, The NMB Bank's Acting Managing Director, Ms Ruth Zaipuna said the goal was to bridge the gap between the supply of formal financial services and in- formal savings groups by improving access to finan- cial services.
"This is an enhancement of the current groups' saving product named NMB Pamoja Account for affordable, con- venient and easy to access banking services," she noted.
According to FinScope Tanzania 2017 survey, 28 per cent of the adult population in Tanzania is excluded from any finan- cial mechanisms and rely only on themselves, fam- ily or friends for saving, borrowing and remitting, with their transactions being cash-based or in-kind.
The Bank of Tanzania (BoT), said recently that the use of mobile money services has contributed to increase the country's financial inclusion, which the central bank's internal study shows has currently crossed 70 percent from 65 percent in the last two years.
NMB Pamoja is fully integrated with the NMB Chap Chap account, allowing groups and members to seamlessly transfer funds between groups and individual accounts with zero fees.
Team Leader for SatF Ms Janet Hayes described the partnership between NMB and SatF as a great opportunity to test a sus- tainable and scalable model that could really benefit informal savers in Tanzania and contributes to Bank of Tanzania's plan for increasing finan- cial inclusion, especially among women.
She noted that the NMB-SatF collaboration breaks new ground and pioneering a new financial inclusion model. The move is expected to pave the way for more investment and participation of other players in the financial services sector.
"While NMB provides its banking excellence and platform as among the biggest banks in Tanzania, SatF brings to the table global experience and expertise in improving the financial inclusion of low income individuals and communities in sub-Saharan Africa," she stated.
The Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE)- listed NMB Bank has 225 branches, more than 3 million customers, over 6,000 agents and more than 800 ATMs across the country and is represented in all districts of Tanzania.