EFInA, Visa, Women’s World Banking and Diamond Bank Partner to Advance Financial Inclusion for Women in Nigeria
12 April 2012

Partnership will deliver innovative savings program through traditional and mobile channels to further Nigeria’s financial inclusion agenda


Lagos/New York, April 12 2012:  Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), Visa Inc., Women’s World Banking and Diamond Bank announced that they are partnering to advance financial inclusion in Nigeria for underserved women and provide them with an opportunity to become economically and socially empowered through access to a savings account.

The EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2010 survey revealed that only 12.1 million women (29.2% of adult female population) have access to formal financial services, whereas 24.3 million women (58.8% of the adult female population) are saving. Research has shown that low-income women are good savers, but they need a safe and convenient way to save. Through this partnership, EFInA and Visa are providing funding for Women’s World Banking to support Diamond Bank in developing a commercially viable savings product tailored to the needs of underserved women in Nigeria. The project will include both traditional bank branches and mobile phones as channels to deliver savings accounts.

“Without access to savings services, women are forced to keep cash at home or in informal savings mechanisms – both risky options that could result in theft or loss,” said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO, Women’s World Banking. “Since women in developing countries are usually responsible for managing household budgets, gaining access to a safe way to save is often a critical stepping stone out of the cycle of poverty for the whole family.”

The EFInA and Visa-backed project will involve three phases. First, Women’s World Banking will work with Diamond Bank to research and understand what type of savings services Nigerian women want and need to improve their financial lives. Second, the organizations will collaborate on designing and piloting a product that will be available at bank branches and on mobile phones. Finally, a savings product will be launched nationally after a successful pilot. In addition, financial education for women will be provided in partnership with local community organizations.  

“Around the world, there is a growing recognition that cash-based economies are a major impediment to advancing financial inclusion,” said Joe Saunders, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Visa Inc. “Helping the underserved women of Nigeria move physical cash out from under mattresses and into formal savings accounts – combined with the potential of mobile phones to enable access to these accounts – will be a significant step toward financial inclusion in the market.” 

Modupe Ladipo, Chief Executive Officer, EFInA said, “Advancing financial inclusion has been a priority for the government of Nigeria. Last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced its commitment to reduce Nigeria’s financial exclusion from 46.3 percent in 2010 to 20.0 percent by 2020.” In addition, the country’s Cashless Project aims to reduce the use of cash and increase electronic transactions.

“We believe this is an opportunity to prove that meeting the needs of women in developing countries can be sustainable,” Iskenderian said. “The partners involved in this project are poised to build that business case, while also contributing to a real and lasting impact for women in Nigeria.”


About Visa Inc.

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Visa uses its products, interoperable global processing network, mobile and security capabilities, and payments expertise to help facilitate financial inclusion at scale.


About Women’s World Banking

Women’s World Banking (WWB) is the only global microfinance network focused on women and working to ensure that financial institutions provide services tailored to women’s needs that are affordable, convenient and sustainable to deliver. WWB is currently working with seven institutions in six countries to introduce savings or adapt existing savings products to meet the needs of women and girls. WWB is a global network of 39 leading microfinance institutions from 27 countries.


About Diamond Bank Plc

Diamond Bank is one of the leading banks in Nigeria – respected for its excellent service delivery, driven by innovation and operating on the most advanced banking technology platform in the market. Diamond Bank has a strong retail strategy aimed at creating a niche in that segment, hence the creation of the retail division in 2008, which focuses on providing strong value propositions to consumers and MSME segments.