IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Flexible Microfinance Products for Financial Management by the Poor: Evidence from SafeSave

Listed author(s):
  • Carolina Laureti
  • Alain De Janvry
  • Elisabeth Sadoulet
Registered author(s):

    Well-functioning financial services are key for consumption smoothing and to take advantage of investment opportunities. Even though poor households badly need financial services for their day-to-day money management, a commonly held view is that they are ‘too poor’ to save and to repay loans with flexible terms. This paper explores whether this view holds true for two specific flexible financial products, namely passbook savings accounts and credit lines. Analyzing the daily transactions and balances in more than 10,000 SafeSave accounts—a microfinance institution based in Dhaka, Bangladesh—over nine years (2004-2012) shows that clients make extensive use of their flexible savings-and-loan accounts to accommodate changing availability of and needs for liquidity in the face of three kinds of events: paydays, Islamic festivals (Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha), and political protests (hartals). Cash-in (savings deposit and loan repayment) flexibility is used to cope with both positive (paydays) and negative shocks (Islamic festivals and political protests); cash-out (withdrawal and loan taken) flexibility is used if the negative shock is anticipated well in advance (as in the case of Islamic festivals). We show that, while interest rates on loans are higher than in competing MFIs, repayment rates are comparably high. We also show that SafeSave is covering its operational costs, indicating that this type of flexible financial services can be offered to the poor in a sustainable fashion. Overall, analysis of the SafeSave experience shows that flexible financial products are much in demand by the poor and that they can be profitable for the microfinance institution that offers them.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: https://dipot.ulb.ac.be/dspace/bitstream/2013/262437/3/wp17036.pdf
    File Function: Œuvre complète ou partie de l'œuvre
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 17-036.

    as
    in new window

    Length: 51 p.
    Date of creation: 20 Dec 2017
    Publication status: Published by:
    Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/262437
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    CP114/03, 42 avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles

    Phone: +32 (0)2 650.48.64
    Fax: +32 (0)2 650.41.88
    Web page: http://difusion.ulb.ac.be
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as
    in new window


    1. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Behavioral responses to risk in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 23-49, October.
    2. Fafchamps, Marcel & Udry, Christopher & Czukas, Katherine, 1998. "Drought and saving in West Africa: are livestock a buffer stock?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 273-305, April.
    3. Dean Karlan & Leigh Linden, 2014. "Loose Knots: Strong versus Weak Commitments to Save for Education in Uganda," Working Papers 1037, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    4. Morduch Jonathan, 2010. "Borrowing to Save," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-11, December.
    5. Lee, Jeong-Joon & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 2010. "Precautionary saving under liquidity constraints: Evidence from rural Pakistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 77-86, January.
    6. Jeon, Doh-Shin & Menicucci, Domenico, 2011. "When is the optimal lending contract in microfinance state non-contingent?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(5), pages 720-731, June.
    7. Carolina Laureti, 2017. "Why do Poor People Co-hold Debt and Liquid Savings?," Working Papers CEB 17-007, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
    9. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilova & Jonathan Morduch, 2012. "Behavioral Foundations of Microcredit: Experimental and Survey Evidence from Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1118-1139, April.
    10. Pierre Bachas & Paul Gertler & Sean Higgins & Enrique Seira, 2017. "Banking on Trust: How Debit Cards Enable the Poor to Save More," NBER Working Papers 23252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Gloede, Oliver & Menkhoff, Lukas & Waibel, Hermann, 2015. "Shocks, Individual Risk Attitude, and Vulnerability to Poverty among Rural Households in Thailand and Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 54-78.
    12. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence From a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672.
    13. Erica Field & Rohini Pande & John Papp & Natalia Rigol, 2013. "Does the Classic Microfinance Model Discourage Entrepreneurship among the Poor? Experimental Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2196-2226, October.
    14. Ambrosius, Christian & Cuecuecha, Alfredo, 2016. "Remittances and the Use of Formal and Informal Financial Services," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 80-98.
    15. Dehejia, Rajeev & Montgomery, Heather & Morduch, Jonathan, 2012. "Do interest rates matter? Credit demand in the Dhaka slums," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 437-449.
    16. Robert M. Townsend, 1995. "Consumption Insurance: An Evaluation of Risk-Bearing Systems in Low-Income Economies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 83-102, Summer.
    17. Cassar, Alessandra & Healy, Andrew & von Kessler, Carl, 2017. "Trust, Risk, and Time Preferences After a Natural Disaster: Experimental Evidence from Thailand," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 90-105.
    18. Erica Field & Rohini Pande, 2008. "Repayment Frequency and Default in Microfinance: Evidence From India," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 501-509, 04-05.
    19. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:425-450 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Czura, Kristina, 2015. "Do flexible repayment schedules improve the impact of microcredit? Evidence from a randomized evaluation in rural India," Discussion Papers in Economics 26608, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    21. Craig McIntosh, 2008. "Estimating Treatment Effects from Spatial Policy Experiments: An Application to Ugandan Microfinance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 15-28, February.
    22. Platteau, Jean-Philippe & De Bock, Ombeline & Gelade, Wouter, 2017. "The Demand for Microinsurance: A Literature Review," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 139-156.
    23. Udry, Christopher, 1995. "Risk and Saving in Northern Nigeria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1287-1300, December.
    24. Prina, Silvia, 2015. "Banking the poor via savings accounts: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 16-31.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/262437. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Benoit Pauwels)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.