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Banking the Poor: Measuring Banking Access in 54 Economies

2008-10, 150 с. (8.5x10.5)
ISBN: 978-0-8213-7754-3

How many people are using banking services in poor countries? What financial services are used? And how could access to banking services be expanded to include more people? Banking the Poor explores these questions, through responses to questions in surveys undertaken in 54 countries, mostly in Africa.]

The biggest contribution of this study is new data. Banking the Poor collects information from two sources: central banks and leading commercial banks in each surveyed country. It explores associations between countries’ banking policies and practices and their levels of financial access, measured in terms of the numbers of bank account per thousand adults.

Banking the Poor finds that the surest way to increased access is job growth that leads to more income. But it also finds that more complexity and costs such as monthly fees are linked to lower access. Access is not enhanced by loading up accounts with features that enhance convenience such as overdraft provision. Instead these features appeal to people who are already banked. Even mobile banking in its current form is primarily aimed at existing clients. On the other hand, availability of a basic “no-frills” bank account with minimal charges is linked to more access.