> Posted by Center Staff
The headline is just one of the things we like about today’s NextBillion.net blog post, “The Evolution of Financial Inclusion: A Survey of the Future.” Graham Macmillan‘s piece on CFI’s new “Opportunities and Obstacles to Financial Inclusion” report also includes his interesting take on many of the report’s key points:
- Financial education is a critical driver of financial inclusion. In fact, 86 percent of survey participants from South America, where the microfinance industry is the most mature, strongly endorse financial education. Educated clients reduce risk for the institution and themselves while driving product innovation. There may even be evidence of a business case for financial education as well.
- Financial inclusion requires a better understanding of what clients need. More Than Good Intentions by Karlan and Appel solidly outlines how new and better approaches to understanding what works and what doesn’t is driving better product and program design. Certainly, Portfolios of the Poor by Morduch, Collins and Rutherford set the stage for better understanding the lives of low-income people. More of this needs to happen.
- Technology is going to play an important role in delivering low-cost financial products, but the respondents’ enthusiasm in the survey for mobile and branchless banking differed from market to market. Respondents from Africa were the most enthusiastic.
- Regulatory efforts must be accelerated to level the playing field and to reduce uncertainty. Coupled with this industry-level view, the sector is clamoring for credit bureau and national identification schemes. Information is key and can be driven by policy and industry adoption.
We appreciate the nod from Macmillan, who is a senior program officer at the Citi Foundation. We’re also looking forward to the roundtables and presentations that will take the report’s message forward, and we thank the Citi Foundation for supporting them.
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