Sacramento startups join forces to build TableBank, a free Community Banking Application that manages community banking programs in developing countries
May 1, 2016
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Willow Tree Roots, a Sacramento-based international nonprofit that empowers vulnerable women in developing countries through entrepreneurship, has partnered with Sacramento-based app developer FullStack Labs, to build TableBank, a free community banking application that manages micro banking programs in developing countries. Willow Tree Roots works to empowers women by helping them create artisan goods and build fair-trade retail businesses and is currently using TableBank to manage their community banking programs in Kenya and Peru.
Despite the fact that women make up the majority of the population in developing countries, most of them have difficulty accessing basic banking services. Community banking, or “table banking”, provides a community-based solution to this problem. Table banking is a group funding strategy where members of a particular group meet once every month, place their savings, loan repayments and other contributions on the table then immediately borrow in the form of loans. Community banking is a great way to help women gain the financial resources they need to become entrepreneurs. But tracking and record keeping creates significant problems within most community banking programs, and prior to TableBank, there was no software available to address this problem.
Deposit and loan amounts are often difficult to keep track of and members become frustrated with the process and eventually stop participating, leading to a breakdown of the entire program. TableBank addresses these issues by making it easy to:
Add, remove, and manage participants.
Track deposits and withdraws.
Manage loans by tracking interest rates, loan terms, payment due dates and amounts, late fees, etc.
Quickly understand the community banking programs vital stats like total outstanding loans, total number of depositors and borrowers, etc.
By implementing TableBank, Willow Tree Roots has been able to:
Teach women who otherwise would not have access to the financial system how to save, borrow and invest in themselves and their communities.
Give vulnerable women a sense of financial value and worth.
Offer women a way to gradually get out of debt and invest in entrepreneurial enterprises.
“By tapping into Sacramento’s local technology genius and the area’s ever-increasing global social-good-consciousness, FullStack Labs’ application will help us empower the women in our programs around the world” said Tiffani Sharp, Founder and Executive Director of Willow Tree Roots. David Jackson, CEO of FullStack Labs recognized the nonprofit’s goal of teaching women to become self-sufficient by building their own business: “Willow Tree Roots’ belief in entrepreneurship and self-reliance really resonated with the team at FullStack, so much so that we knew we wanted to help in any way we could.”
The program is already changing the lives of women in Kenya, “I used the loan that I took from the table banking app to buy a textbook for my child in school” said Willow Tree Roots Kenya participant Phoebo Atieno.
Going forward, Willow Tree Roots and FullStack Labs hope to see non-profits around the world using TableBank to manage their community banking programs, free of charge.
To learn more about TableBank please visit www.TableBank.org