Pakistan is one of the fastest developing markets for branchless banking in the world.
Although Pakistan’s population exceeds 170 million, ii there are only an estimated 16 million individual bank accounts, iii leaving the vast majority of the population without access to banking services.
Financial Access 2010 is the second in a series of annual reports by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) and the World Bank Group to monitor statistics for financial access around the world and to inform the policy debate.
In the past decade or so, many microfinance institutions (MFIs) have experimented with alternative delivery channels to reduce costs, facilitate greater outreach to hard-to-reach areas, and increase customer convenience.
Despite growing agreement on the potential of technology to expand access to finance, or branchless banking, there is surprisingly little data publicly available about low-income users.
A significant proportion of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing countries operate either as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) or as projects run by international NGOs. Many of these NGO MFIs plan to “transform” into a for-profit company—often, a regulated financial institution.
Only about one-quarter of households in developing countries have any form of financial savings with formal banking institutions: 10 percent in Kenya, 20 percent in Macedonia, 25 percent in Mexico, 32 percent in Bangladesh
Branchless banking has great potential to extend the distribution of financial services to poor people who are not reached by traditional bank branch networks; it lowers the cost of delivery, including costs both to banks of building and maintaining a delivery channel and to customers of accessing services (e.g., travel or queuing times
This Brief provides a quick look at the growing use of banking agents to extend financial services to low-income and poor people.
This Technical Guide helps financial service providers determine whether they should offer money transfer services.