Throughout time households saved: as insurance against emergencies, for religious and social obligations, for investment and for future consumption. This paper highlights some of the reasons behind inaccessibility to formal sector banks by most poor people. It further analyzes the emergency needs of the poor people, their requirement for both liquid and illiquid services and the strategy used by them to build-up large lump sums of money to purchase significant capital assets such as land and houses. Key issues addressed in the paper include – compulsory, locked-in savings, designing savings products and services from an MFI’s Perspective and managing the costs of small savings accounts. The paper discusses the benefits of offering savings services to the poor, while cautioning that there are no magic formulas for designing appropriate savings products for poor people: it requires market research and careful, systematic product development. An example of “The Development of Equity Building Society’s Jijenge Savings Account” is also discussed in the paper.

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