Linking Traditional Banking with Modern Finance: Barclays Microbanking - Susu Collectors Initiative

Susu collection, practiced for more three centuries in Africa, is an informal arrangement for mobilizing savings deposits from clients. Operators collect a predetermined installment of money from their client, daily or weekly. With about 4,000 active Susu collectors in Ghana and each serving 200–850 clients a day, Susu collection has become an established system (albeit informal) that meets an important need.

In November 2005 Barclays Bank Ghana embarked on an initiative at the intersection of traditional banking and modern finance, leveraging Susu collection to extend microfinance to some of Ghana’s poorest people — the small trader at the market or the microentrepreneur selling from roadside stalls. The case looks at how the Barclays Ghana initiative augments the Susu collection scheme and the project’s impact on advancing Barclay’s corporate objectives.

Barclays Bank does not seek to replace the Susu collector or take away their business. Barclays Microbanking seeks to simultaneously improve the Susu collector’s business by providing training to them and their clients, giving them additional legitimacy through their relationship with the bank and allowing them to offer loans to their clients. At the same time, if traders and traditional Susu clients grow their businesses to the point where they would prefer to have access to their own bank account, Barclays will be well positioned to meet their needs.

Barclays hopes to use this initiative in Africa to learn how different cultures handle the issue of microcredit and to enable them to develop a structure that will work with any indigenous system and give access to capital for market traders and small indigenous private sector operators.

Further information


Partnership types

Doing business with the poor; Provision of services / personnel

Regions / countries / territories

Africa: Ghana

Global issues

Job creation and enterprise development; Financial accessibility and management

Business sectors