Hundreds of thousands of low-income people in Tanzania have gained access to financial products including Savings, Credit and Money Transfers, locally and international through leveraging on technology which brings Financial Services closer to the unbanked, particularly in peripheral areas of Tanzania.

In 2014, the National Financial Inclusion Framework (NFIF) set the stage for National Financial Inclusion Vision with the goals to concretely improve the lives of all Tanzanians through improved access and use of financial services. The framework galvanized all relevant stakeholders in financial services under one common vision of success and provided strategic direction for all initiatives for financial inclusion in the country.

Financial institutions have played a key role in widening their services in areas of the country which would otherwise not receive such services.

Granted, microfinance has been a major contributor to financial inclusion because it targets the common people through loans that have in essence bolstered their Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).

FINCA Microfinance Bank is one of those pioneering players in the industry which have and is contributing a pivotal role in uplifting Tanzanians from financial deprivation to financial independence. As testified by some of the beneficiaries, FINCA’s entry into the financial sector has been a boon to small and medium scale business people.

Jeremiah Juma, a businessman from Arusha – Kimandali, a FINCA customer since 2008 says that his life has changed for the better through Loans secured from the Bank.

“Loans from FINCA Microfinance Bank have enabled me to expand my business from a single grocery store selling every day commodities to a wholesale business selling beverages. The Bank’s flexible repayment plan and close relationship I have with the Bank greatly contributed to my business growth”, says Juma.

Jeremiah’s sentiments have also echoed by Esmail Karutu, a shop owner whose business is located at Arusha’s City Centre.

“I have been with FINCA since 1998. Financial services as well as business advice from the Bank have helped me develop a financial discipline that has led to the growth of my business over the years. Regular loans from FINCA have helped me increase my business merchandise and hence expand my business,” Karutu says, particularly commending the quality of Customer Service and efficient processes in securing Loans and after-sales services offered by the Bank.

“The hassle-free and transparent procedures in place gives me peace and confidence to Bank with FINCA”, he concludes.

Another FINCA customer, Mama Hawa Juma, a mother of 3 children living in Sekei, Arusha says of FINCA services: “I started out with FINCA 19 years ago. I used to sell unprocessed Sunflower Oil and with support from FINCA, the business developed where am now producing processed Sunflower Oil with a working capital of millions of shillings” Mama Hawa proudly says.

Hawa’s business flourished and her customers increased selling in wholesale to Dodoma, Tabora regions and across the borders to Kenya. The business expansion enables her to send their 3 children to school.

A fin scope survey report of 2017 reveals that about 65 percent of Tanzanians have access to formal financial services, attributing the growth to largely the uptake of mobile phones.

The Chief Executive Officer of FINCA Microfinance Bank Tanzania, Issa Ngwegwe believes that for markets to work well and sustainably, every customer is entitled to a fairly priced and transparent financial products information which will enable them to make a sole decision on what to go for as they select financial services to enroll to.

“In serving the unbanked population of Tanzania, FINCA extends its Financial Solutions through a potential innovative Mobile Savings platform of Haloyako with HaloteI. FINCA products are designed to provide financial services to our clients in a manner that upholds banking standards in customer satisfaction and transparency. We tailor our service delivery to offer them convenience and ensure them with utmost security and efficiency when carrying out transactions”, says Ngwegwe.

Ngwegwe also went on explaining that the Bank has invested highly in technology producing a Digital Automation Field (DFA) tablets which can instantly open accounts and initiate loan application in 5 Minutes anywhere and anytime. The practice eliminated the trouble of one going to the Branch to open an account or apply for a loan. This enables FINCA Microfinance Bank to reach remote population and serve them easily and fast.

FINCA Microfinance Bank boasts in the industry with over 20 Branches and 150 FINCA Express Agency Banking points across Tanzania. The Branch network and Agency Banking helps customers’ access financial services and assistance from the reach of their wards.

You can access the original version of this article published by The Guardian (Tanzania) here.