Financial services for poor South Africans : an analysis of financial serivices cooperatives

Nigrini, Morne (2005-12)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South Africans earning less than Rl 440 per month (18 million adults) and less than R2 880 per month (29 million adults) are regarded as poor and relatively poor respectively. Of the relatively poor, 78% are unbanked, i.e. do not have access to a formal bank account, while 86% of the poor are unbanked. These figures show clearly that commercial banks do not meet the financial needs of many people, especially the poor for savings, credit, transmission and insurance services. Therefore the importance of those institutions that do not form part of the formal financial sector and provide micro savings and micro credit services, generally referred to as micro finance, to the poor at the local level on a sustainable basis. The objective of this research is twofold. Firstly, a review of the literature on micro finance in general to establish the financial needs of the poor, the constraints formal financial institutions face in providing micro financial services and to identify best practice regarding the provision of financial services to the poor in order to be in the position to form an opinion on institutional success. Secondly, to analyse a specific South African micro finance initiative, Financial Services Cooperatives (FSCs), to identify how FSCs relate to the international best practice and to establish whether they are successful in addressing the financial needs of the poor. A FSC is a financial institution through which micro finance services (savings, credit, transmission and insurance) are extended to unbanked households in a rural village. It utilises a community's rules, customs, relationships, knowledge, solidarity and resources combined with formal financial methods and concepts. The FSC is initiated, owned, financed and managed by the villagers themselves. FSCs are registered cooperatives under the Cooperative Act of 1981 and may accept deposits from their members in terms of an exemption from the Bank Act of 1990. Currently, FSCs experience problems in providing credit, transmission and insurance services, preventing them from intermediating between borrowers and savers. After reviewing the above-mentioned international best practice the conclusion reached with regard to FSCs includes the following: FSCs only provide savings services and therefore do not intermediate between borrowers and savers as required for a financial institution. This in tum prevents them from being sustainable. FSCs' failure can be ascribed to the restrictive legislation, unsuccessful regulation and supervision. New legislation is currently under review that will change the landscape for micro finance and specifically for FSCs.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrikaners wat minder as Rl 440 per maand (18 miljoen volwassenes) en minder as R2 880 per maand verdien (29 miljoen volwassenes) word onderskeidelik as arm and relatief arm bestempel. Agt-en-sewentig persent van dié wat relatief arm is, het nie toegang tot 'n formele bankrekening nie, terwyl 86% van dié wat arm is, geen toegang het nie. Hierdie syfers toon duidelik dat kommersiële banke nie aan die finansiële behoeftes, met betrekking tot spaar-, krediet-, transmissie- en versekeringsdienste van baie mense voldoen nie, veral nie die armes nie. Daarom dat instellings wat nie deel vorm van die formele finansiële sektor nie en mikrobesparings en mikro-krediet, algemeen bekend as mikro-finansies, in 'n plaaslike gebied en op 'n volhoubare basis verleen, belangrik is. Die doel van hierdie navorsing is tweeledig: Eerstens, bied dit 'n oorsig oor die mikro-finansiering literatuur ten einde die finansiële behoeftes van die armes te ondersoek en die beperkings wat formele finansiële instellings ondervind om mikro-finansiële dienste te verskaf, aan te stip. Beste praktyk rakende die voorsiening van finansiële dienste aan die armes word geïdentifiseer, om sodoende in 'n posisie te wees om 'n opinie te kan vorm oor institusionele suksesfaktore. Tweedens, om a spesifieke Suid-Afrikaanse mikro-finansiële inisiatief, Finanical Services Cooperatives (FSCs) te ondersoek, ten einde vas te stel hoe hierdie inisiatief vergelyk met internasionale beste praktyk en hoe suksesvol dit is in die voorsiening van finansiële dienste aan die armes. 'n FSC is 'n finansiële instelling waardeur mikro-finansiële dienste (spaar-, krediet-, transmissie- en versekeringsdienste) verskaf word aan diegene in 'n plattelandse nedersetting wat nie toegang tot formele bankdienste het me. FSCs maak gebruik van 'n gemeenskap se reëls, gebruike, verhoudings, kennis, solidariteit en hulpbronne en kombineer dit met formele finansiële metodes en konsepte. Dit is 'n inisiatief van die gemeenskap en word deur die inwoners van die nedersetting besit, finansier en bestuur. FSCs is geregistreerde koëperasies in terme van die Ko-operatiewe Wet van 1981, en mag ook deposito's van hulle lede aanvaar op grand van 'n vrystelling van die Bankwet van 1990. Tans ondervind FSCs probleme in die verskaffing van krediet-, transmissieen versekeringsdienste wat hulle verhoed om as tussenganger tussen leners en spaarders op te tree. Na die oorweging van die internasionale beste-praktyk, kan die volgende gevolgtrekking rakende FSCs gemaak word: FSCs tree nie op as tussenganger tussen leners en spaarders nie, soos vereis word van 'n finansiële instelling nie. Dit beperk gevolglik volhoubaarheid. Die mislukking kan toegeskryf word aan beperkte wetgewing, onsuksesvolle regulering en supervisie. Nuwe wetgewing is tans onder oorweging wat die landskap vir mikro finansiering en veral vir FSCs sal verander.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50357
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