ACCRA, Ghana, Jan. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Brussels-based WSBI (World Savings and Retail Banking Institute) and Cignifi today announced an agreement to develop and test-market an innovative mobile savings product targeted at underserved and dormant savers.
The product will be tested in partnership with Airtel Ghana and WSBI member HFC Bank Ghana. Airtel is the world's third largest mobile telecommunications company with over 305 million subscribers across 20 countries including India, where it is the largest cellular service provider. HFC Bank is a leading universal bank in Ghana whose services include commercial banking, investment banking, mortgage banking and micro-finance. The partners recently completed a pilot project that showed that mobile phone usage is an effective predictor of a consumer's savings behavior.
"We're very excited to enter the pre-commercial phase with the ongoing support of WSBI," said Jonathan Hakim, President and CEO of Cignifi. "Our pilot project clearly showed a correlation between mobile phone habits and banking behavior, and presented us with an opportunity to develop a mobile savings product specifically designed to help banks engage with and grow their customer base."
"The product that we're developing in partnership with Cignifi will help WSBI strengthen our leadership position in the use of new technology to promote financial inclusion," noted Chris de Noose, Managing Director of WSBI. "We foresee the mobile savings product becoming a direct contributor to financial inclusion in Ghana, and as a model for WSBI member banks to replicate in other markets."
Lucy Quist, Managing Director of Airtel Ghana said, "We are pleased that Airtel Money is the mobile platform of choice for this innovative concept of driving adoption for new types of mobile savings products based on subscriber behavior." She added that the strategic partnership demonstrates Airtel's leadership in developing valuable solutions and driving innovation in Ghana's mobile finance industry. "Our common aim is to provide secure connections and tailor-made value propositions."
Mr. Asare Akuffo, Managing Director of HFC Bank said, "We are delighted about this strategic partnership to develop innovative mobile savings products. The choice of HFC Bank out of the 28 commercial banks in Ghana confirms our focus on banking for small and mediums sized enterprises. We believe that this mobile savings product will help nurture a savings culture, enable the bank to engage better with Ghana's informal sector and grow our customer and deposit base."
The mobile savings product will be tested on the Airtel Ghana Mobile Money platform and will combine features of mobile and savings products. It will be designed to accept small payments and will enable customers to use Airtel's extensive network of mobile money agents to make deposits and withdrawals without needing to visit a bank branch. Airtel Ghana's customer base will be segmented using behavior-based scores, which will drive targeted marketing campaigns to drive customer acquisition and usage.
Cignifi is helping to meet the needs of an estimated 2.7 billion people worldwide who have mobile phones but no access to formal financial services. The company has developed the first proven analytic platform to deliver credit and marketing scores for consumers using mobile phone behavior data. The Cignifi platform qualifies millions of underserved consumers who lack traditional credit histories, unlocking a massive opportunity to provide access to credit to these same consumers. Cignifi, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is led by a management team with significant data analytics, financial services and global business experience. For more information, visit www.cignifi.com
About World Savings and Retail Banking Institute
WSBI (World Savings and Retail Banking Institute) is an international banking association that represents savings and retail banks and associations in 89 countries around the world (Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Africa and Europe). WSBI represents more than 6,150 financial institutions. At the end of 2011, these institutions operated through more than 200,000 outlets, employed more than 2.3 million people and served more than 900 million customers. Assets of member institutions amounted to more than US $16.8 trillion at the end of 2011.
About Bharti Airtel
Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company's product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 305 million customers across its operations at the end of October 2014. For more information, please visit www.airtel.com.
About HFC Bank
HFC Bank Ghana Limited is a leading universal banking institution, arguably the country's most diversified financial institution. With 40 branches, HFC Bank provides mortgage banking, commercial banking, investment banking, real estate services, microfinance operations and fund management. The bank's HFC Investments Services Limited is a leading property and funds management company. HFC Bank has a strong investment banking capability, offering managed funds, financial advisory, brokerage and asset management.