Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dialing for Financial Services

"Wizzit has broken that tradition, doing away not only with bankers' hours but also with branches, which are a major operating expense for even the biggest bank."

Craig Timberg, "Banker Sees a Rich Market in the Poor," Washington Post, May 14, 2008.

Wizzit is a South African company that delivers financial services to the "unbanked" through cell phones. 5.5 billion people worldwide do not have banking services, but 3 billion have cell phones, three times the number of bank accounts.

When do you need a physical place or front door to access services? When do you need to interact with a real person right in front of you to get advice or transact business? How important is 24/7 access and bundling lots of services?

Many parts of the world are leapfrogging the U.S. in the use of cell phones and other technologies for social and economic empowerment because they are not burdened, or advantaged, by the infrastructure of the past. But access to affordable, high quality services is only one part of the puzzle: people also need access to some good advice, not just seat time in financial literacy classes, but financial coaching.

With gas prices soaring and the growth of predatory financial services, it's time to build another platform of financial services.

1 comment:

Josh said...

"Many parts of the world are leapfrogging the U.S. in the use of cell phones and other technologies for social and economic empowerment..."

This kind of language reminds me of Howard RheinGold's "Smart Mobs".

http://www.smartmobs.com/book/book_summ.html