While microcredit has been viewed as a help in alleviating poverty, there is a growing trend in microfinance that views  savings as a way to help poor people decrease risks and expenses associated with borrowing.  Recent studies have shown that poor people can and do save if they are given appropriate opportunities and incentives. Savings can help them accumulate assets  which could be used for business and household purposes while also earning interest on savings.  Savings deposits also provide capital formation for microfinance institutions thereby enabling them to grow and expand so as to better serve their communities. 

Digitizing Savings Circles for the Base of the Pyramid.  Review of centuries old savings circles (also called rotating savings pools, ROSCAs, tandas, chamas, and chit funds, etc.) across cultures and regions. (2014)

White Paper on Savings Behavior of India’s Ultra-Poor.  Grameen Foundation explores the savings behavior of 200 households in the Gaya District of Bihar, India who live on less than $1.25 per day, and test a model of integrated financial, livelihood, and risk-management services to help the ultra-poor escape poverty by giving them the resources they need to effectively use microfinance services.

Delivering Technology Solutions to Susu Collectors. Susu collectors are one of the oldest financial services in Africa. Discussion of pilot project in Ghana (2012).

Helping the poor to save: Small wonder – A new model of microfinance for the very poor is spreading. A review of savings by The Economist. (Jan.2012).

Microsavings Initiative, Grameen Foundation.  (2012).  An overview of a 3-year project.

Savings Perceptions and Preferences in India: The Relative Risk to the Savings of the Poor – Summary Overview. (2012).  There is increasing evidence that low-income households actively seek ways to save and invest their limited resources.

Advancing Savings Services Resource Guide for Funders. A Guide to Unlocking Savings for the Poor. The study highlights how supporting savings mobilization is fundamental to building inclusive financial systems.

Savings– and Loans Associations: A Guide for Practitioners. (2011) Savings and Loans Associations and  have enabled poor communities to strengthen their financial position over the last decades but also have the potential to become more than a financial tool and to contribute to long term political change.

Group Savings and Loan Associations: Impact Study.  The goals of this study are to determine the impact of group savings and loans associations (GSLs) on their users’ livelihoods, and to assess the potential market for GSLs to inform a possible scale-up.

Savings are as important at Credit:  Deposit Services for the Poor

One Early Success Story: Savings Led Groups (Gates Foundation)

Beyond Microcredit: The Role of Savings Banks in Microfinance

Easing Poverty through Thrift.  Discusses the benefits of savings/deposits for individuals, financial intermediaries, and the economy in general.

Savings – An Essential Service for the Poor. Analyzes savings characteristics and requirements of the poor, and concludes that when poor households are provided a safe, easily accessible opportunity to save, their commitment to saving, and the amounts they manage to save, are remarkable.

The Future of Microfinance: Savings and Insurance. For microsavings to work, they have to drastically cut banking costs.  Average savings balances of $80 and frequently deposits of under $5 is a hindrance for most banking institutions.