Project Experience

Madagascar

Establishment and Management of AccèsBanque Madagascar (ABM), since 2006

In August 2005 LFS finalised the feasibility study and the five-year business plan for a greenfield microfinance bank in Madagascar, AccèsBanque Madagascar (ABM). ABM’s goal is to become the leading provider of financial services to micro and small enterprises and the lower income strata of the population in Madagascar. LFS is the Technical Partner in charge of establishing and managing AccèsBanque. The pre-operational phase started in July 2006.

ABM received its preliminary commercial banking license in mid-December 2006 and its operating license on 1 February 2007. The Bank has started operations in the capital Antananarivo where it now has 8 branches. In June 2009 the first branch outside Antananarivo was opened in Antsirabe. Its product range comprises loans to micro and small enterprises, deposits and payment services (cheques and national wire transfer services).

For more information, visit AccèsBanque Madagascar and AccessHolding at:  

AccèsBanque Madagascar: Development and Implementation of Agricultural and Rural Lending 2010 – ongoing

AccèsBanque is the first MFI with banking license in Madagascar. Its shareholders are AccessHolding, IFC, KfW, the Triodos-Doen Foundation and BFV-Société Générale. AccèsBanque first developed its activities in urban and semi-urban areas (Antananarivo and Antsirabe) and is now expanding its branch network into the rural areas of Madagascar.

To realize this project, AccèsBanque has received a 50 percent grant contribution to the overall project costs from the Agriculture Finance Support Facility (AGRIFIN) of the World Bank. The main components of the program are to increase the rural outreach by augmenting branches in rural areas, to develop new products and services adapted to the needs of the rural population (for example: a branchless banking system), and to strengthen the Bank’s knowledge and capacity for agricultural lending by developing specified training for employees and participating in professional exchanges.

In rural areas, farmers account for 80 to 90 percent of the working population. In order to meet farmers’ demand, LFS has developed a dedicated Agro Loan product. This product is designed specifically to address the seasonal income flow fluctuations of agriculture related businesses, incorporating repayment analysis based on projected cash flows and flexible repayment structures.

A pilot phase was launched in October 2010 in Mahitsy branch for a 4-month period before expanding the Agro Loan product throughout the whole network. The conclusion of the pilot phase was encouraging, and therefore AccèsBanque has already implemented Agricultural Lending Units in four of the existing branches (semi-urban: Antsirabe, rural: Mahitsy, Betafo and Imertsiatoska) with 14 Loan Officers. The training of the staff of the Agricultural Lending Units includes not only in-house classroom and on-the-job training, but also a specialized training on local crops and local agricultural conditions conducted by an independent training center. In order to assure a broader knowledge distribution in the Bank, key staff such as Senior Loan Officers and Branch Managers are included in the training process.

AccèsBanque Madagascar: Mobile/Branchless Banking Feasibility Study 2011 – 2012

With 80 percent of the Malagasy population living in non-urban/remote areas of the island and existing bad infrastructure conditions in Madagascar the existing branch network is not enough to provide for convenient banking both for the existing and potential client base. Therefore the access to financial services for the majority of the Malagasy population still remains a challenge. The high investment costs for opening a traditional branch in areas remote from urban infrastructure and the limited business such a branch could attract present a challenge for financial sustainability. A Mobile/Branchless Banking Solution is perceived as a sustainable and secure channel for access to financial services. It could enable the Bank (i) to extend its outreach by providing banking services to the unbanked population of areas so far not covered by traditional banking, and (ii) to add new service delivery channels for the existing client base and underbanked clients in areas already covered by traditional banking.

The prefeasibility study carried out in March 2011 three branchless banking options were assessed: (i) co-operation with a mobile network operator, (ii) deployment of automatic teller machines (ATMs), (iii) deploying a network of point of sale (POS) terminals in co-operation with one or several retail companies.

The feasibility study reassessed the three options and partnering with local mobile network providers was recognized as the preferred option and initially aiming to provide additional channel to its existing client base. Pilot phase is ongoing.