Monday, March 07, 2011


One of the authors of "Portfolios of the Poor", Stuart Rutherford, inter alia, was founder of SaveSafe, a banking provider for people with low-incomes in Dhaka.

On the "Performance" page of the Safesave website, it lists the following information. Its quite humbling in a sense to think what all this represents in terms of effort and desire for a steady life.

At end January 2011 SafeSave has nine branches serving 15,750 clients in the slums of Dhaka. Clients hold $709,000 in their savings accounts ($1 = 70 Taka). The average savings balance ($45) is growing quickly, partly due to the recent introduction of a long term savings plan in all branches. In March 2010, for the first time, the savings portfolio surpassed the loan portfolio in value.

8,600 of these clients hold loans worth a total of $614,000, or an average outstanding balance of $71 per borrower. The interest rate on loans is 3% charged monthly on the declining balance. There is no fixed loan repayment term, although interest must be payed on time each month in order for a client to increase his or her borrowing limit. In its more than 14 years of operation SafeSave has lent and recovered more than $5.5 million in this fashion, with a recovery rate exceeding 97%.

Each month 66 SafeSave collectors, all of them women from low income neighbourhoods, process more than 120,000 small transactions on handheld devices. SafeSave has been financially sustainable since 2005, when it stopped accepting donor grants, and began borrowing at commercial rates to finance growth. Those loans have now been fully repaid, and SafeSave is generating surplus capital which it invests in fixed deposits at scheduled banks. Reserves exceed 50%.

SafeSave’s annual return on assets is approximately 4.5%, and return on equity is approximately 16%.

No comments: