Jessie Wild Sneller, a designer working on the IDEO.org Financial Health program explains how it is possible to tailor financial products and services to serve those most in need and how to go about finding an association capable of implementing them. In this respect, her collaborators range from four-person startups up to large international corporations.
The starting point is to be clear on what people with low incomes need and also to take into account that each potential partner has a different mission, vision and strategy. The financial products and services need to be desirable, viable and feasible for her partners.
A clear example is the work that was carried out in Cambodia. The organization worked with the microfinance institution Amret and created a savings account based on objectives that fulfilled the wishes of low-income farmers.
In Zimbabwe it became clear that the farmers there were also unable to pay their children's school fees. Work was done in conjunction with Econet, a telecommunications company, to design a mobile savings and credit product that would enable parents to pay school fees on time. This way, schools have access to all the funds paid to them. Even though all of the parents pay a small transaction fee, most of the cost of the product is charged to the schools who can now manage their accounts more systematically. In this instance, the adaptation of financial products and services was a total success.