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the value of stimulating savings

Original article: EL BOSERVADOR, Colombia

Salomón Raydán arrived in Colombia three years ago, due to the economic crisis in Venezuela. He designed a simple finance model in his country that was later replicated in several countries. This is how this Venezuelan teaches to save

"I thought he was going to die poor, but now I'm going to die a banker," a neighborhood resident tells Salomón Raydán, the Venezuelan creator of Bankomunales. Everything arose in 2000, when the world trend was microcredit and the lowest strata lived in debt. Raydán began to analyze the consumption patterns of the most vulnerable populations in Venezuela. He identified that the poor - like the rich - have moments with surpluses and moments when there are financing needs.

He also realized that people have an emotional relationship with money, which in many cases translates into guilt and fear. "The poor can save, but it is difficult for them because they do not have a mechanism to capture those savings efficiently and profitably." This is how Salomón decided to change his passive attitude towards saving and created a disruptive model: Bankomunales, a low-cost, self-sustaining community organization. This Venezuelan created a social enterprise based on empowering people to manage money. Communities assume the dual role of bankers and clients, becoming agents of their own change. Bankomunales uses the community's own resources to grant loans and distribute profits.

How does it work? A group of 20 people is established (sometimes more, sometimes less), who must meet. They all set the rules before putting down a penny. The regulations are adapted to the conditions of each community. Then it is asked who wants to buy shares and among the participants they choose the authorities. A short training is carried out and he starts walking from day one.

It is designed to be self-managed and controlled. There is surveillance of who and under what conditions the credits are granted. It is a distributive model since the accumulation of capital is not sought, but the permanent distribution of profits among the partners. Bankomunales is an alternative to traditional microfinance. While the current trend is bankarization, this organization is committed to improving informal mechanisms. Microfinance concentrates on giving loans and Bankomunales on generating savings.

Raydán designed a simple model that began to operate in Venezuela and due to its dynamism it was not long before it was replicated in Latin America, Spain, Indonesia and Senegal. They have been present in Colombia for 10 years and operate mainly in Cali, where they have more than 200 groups.

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