Lagos, Nigeria is home to some 20 million inhabitants many of whom shop at markets like the one we visited today in Oyingbo, a bustling hive of commerce. In the midst of this market we found Mary Ogbutue who sells edible calabash chalk to pregnant women, preventing them from experiencing sickness. The market is so busy Mary cannot afford to leave her stall for even 5 minutes let alone the hour or so it might need to deposit her takings into a bank some distance away from the market. I talked to Mary and she told me of the challenges of securing her savings and securing enough credit to grow her business.
Now with the help of a grant from Visa, Diamond Bank has developed a no-frills savings account called a Beta Account for people like Mary on small incomes and the bank has also invested behind a growing network of agents (“Beta Friends”) who visit Mary and other stall holders every day to collect their savings.