Pigmy Deposit Scheme: A traditional banking strategy that encourages saving

Pigmy collection is a daily deposit plan that was started by Syndicate Bank, India, in 1928. This is a savings account where the customer can deposit a portion of his earnings every day. The amount deposited can be withdrawn later, once it is due.

The Daily Deposit Scheme is a monetary deposit scheme designed to enable daily wage earners and small business owners to develop saving habits and fund their larger capital needs. In this system, money can be deposited daily into an account. The amount may be as low as 500 Riel.

This scheme’s unique feature is that a bank representative picks up daily deposits of cash from account holders’ doorsteps. This process involves physical intervention at multiple touchpoints. The process usually happens through an agent who uses a ticketing machine to collect money and issue receipts.

Pigmy collectors serve as the intermediary between the account holder and the bank. For the money they collect, they receive a commission of up to 3%. They softly and quickly walk from store to store, collecting small deposits.

The pigmy collection agent visits the depositor, enters the details in the machine, and gives the receipt to the depositor. Once the collection for the day is done, the pigmy agent will visit the bank to update the transaction by connecting the machine to the bank’s system. In the past, agents used to enter details in a book provided by the bank after collecting money from the account holder and then re-enter those details in the record book at the bank.

Pigmy deposit collectors typically work part-time evening hours. This is due to the fact that daily wage earners and small business owners are able to save money with Pigmy Deposits before heading home. This banking approach has generated numerous employment opportunities.

According to the World Bank’s Poverty Assessment Report for Cambodia, Cambodia’s poverty rate fell from 33.8 percent to 17.8 percent over a ten-year period ending in 2019/2020, with nearly 2 million Cambodians exiting poverty. This is an encouraging indicator for financial institutions to promote daily deposit schemes, as it will encourage people to start saving more money.

Cambodia has a total of 14.3 million bank accounts. The number of people under 30 with a bank account went from 250,000 in 2017 to 2.3 million in 2022. It’s a clear sign that people are more interested in banking. Pigmy deposit schemes are a way for banks to reach out to people who are still skeptical of or avoid the banking system. 

According to the National Bank of Cambodia, the country has 58 commercial banks, nine specialized banks, and 86 microfinance institutions, including five MDIs, with a total of 2,593 headquarters and branches, as well as 4,219 automated teller machines (ATMs) throughout the country.

People are more mindful of saving because of the pandemic and the uncertainties it has brought. They want to have more financial security in the future. Savings habits need to be taught, and schemes like Pigmy Deposits need to be provided to people with lower incomes.

You don’t have to see the whole staircase; just take the first step. – Martin Luther King, Jr.  

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