Experts report on the latest research on extending access to financial services to the 2.5 billion adults around the world who lack it.
About 2.5 billion adults, just over half the world's adult population, lack bank accounts. If we are to realize the goal of extending banking and other financial services to this vast “unbanked” population, we need to consider not only such product innovations as microfinance and mobile banking but also issues of data accuracy, impact assessment, risk mitigation, technology adaptation, financial literacy, and local context. In Banking the World, experts take up these topics, reporting on new research that will guide both policy makers and scholars in a broader push to extend financial markets.
The contributors consider such topics as the complexity of surveying people about their use of financial services; evidence of the impact of financial services on income; the occasional negative effects of financial services on poor households, including disincentives to work and overindebtedness; and tools for improving access such as nontraditional credit scores, financial incentives for banking, and identification technologies that can dramatically reduce loan default rates.
About the Author
Robert Cull is a Lead Economist in the Finance and Private Sector Development Team of the World Bank's Development Research Group. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt is Director of Development Policy in the World Bank's Development Economics Vice Presidency and Chief Economist of the Financial and Private Sector Development Network (FPD). She is the coeditor of Financial Structures and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Comparison of Banks, Markets, and Development (MIT Press, 2001). Jonathan Morduch is Professor of Public Policy and Economics at New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He is the coauthor of The Economics of Microfinance (MIT Press) and Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day.