Building better financial services portfolios for low-income customers


Expertise Area

All Areas

Client Name

MetLife Foundation


Mexico, Colombia, Bangladesh, Vietnam

OPTIX is an initiative co-designed by global consulting firm BFA and Metlife Foundation, and fiscally sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. It aims to help financial institutions better understand the lives and needs of low-income customers and ensure they have the same opportunities to access financial products and services as people on higher incomes. Financial institutions worldwide are striving to tailor solutions that both meet the demands of low-income households and also make good business sense. OPTIX launched in 2015 with the aim of helping four socially-driven microfinance institutions and cooperatives in Mexico, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Colombia better understand the lives of low-income customers and create portfolios of appropriate financial products to improve their financial health. For customers, the result is greater financial security and more options to efficiently manage their financial lives and grow their incomes. For financial institutions, it means customers will stay with them longer as they benefit from multiple products and build a trusted relationship with them. The OPTIX approach is based on a thorough understanding of the needs of low-income customers through a combination of data analytics, market research, behavioral science as well as deep knowledge of low-income demographics that together lead to more relevant and cost-effective financial products.

Problem Statement

Financial institutions are continually looking for new ways to engage clients. Institutions turn to cross-sell to engage clients in order to increase their share of clients’ savings (“wallet share”), improve client retention and achieve higher financial returns. And yet, in attempting to sell multiple products to clients, institutions do not always consider the intrinsic needs of the clients they are seeking to engage. The intent of cross-sell is well-meaning, perhaps, because there is an inherent assumption that certain products should be “good” for clients. However, because such assumptions are not backed by hard data or deep client insights, the products offered may not be relevant enough for clients, leaving them unused by clients and expensive for institutions.

The Solution

With the OPTIX program, we have developed typologies that look closely at cross-sell patterns across a suite of products. This provides us with a view of which product seems to be an “entry way” to use of other products and which cross-sells seem to persist in terms of client use or renewal of credit or term products. At the core of this analysis is the notion of product uptake progression. We often see that there are gateway products that clients tend to start with. They then either branch out to a basket of other products, or continue to take the same product again and again, especially if it is of limited term.

Explore OPTIX

OPTIX Focus Note 1 (English)


OPTIX Focus Note 2 (English)


OPTIX Focus Note 1 (Spanish)


OPTIX Focus Note 2 (Spanish)


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Updated January 2020