The forgotten half of rural finance

Is the expression that Robert Vogel uses to qualify the crucial and too often dismissed importance of money-saving. An article published in the Time last week by Barbara Kiviat called “Next Step for Microfinance: Taking Deposits” highlights this issue. One thing that people really need, more than business loans, is a safe place to save their money. The demand for savings accounts sometimes far outstrips the demand for loans. Bank Rakyat in Indonesia, for instance, has 10 savers for every one borrower. “Low-income people need a variety of financial services,” says Bob Christen, director of the financial services group at the Gates Foundation, which has given tens of millions of dollars in grants to savings initiatives.