> Posted by Center Staff

Looking Beyond [Universal Financial] Access

CFI defines Financial Inclusion as “a state in which everyone who can use them has access to a full suite of quality financial services…”

The World Bank’s latest edition of the Global Findex revealed that between 2011 and 2014 over 700 million people were newly financially included, at least according to the top line metric of account ownership. The Universal Financial Access program continues to drive home the message that financial access is within reach, even possibly by 2020. We at CFI are now shifting our focus to the other elements of financial inclusion, those which we have always stood by and advocated for, but those that will certainly take longer than 2020 to reach.

Our definition continues:

“… provided at affordable prices, in a convenient manner, with respect and dignity. Financial services are delivered by a range of providers, in a stable, competitive market to financially capable clients.”

In this issue of our ongoing Financial Inclusion 2020 e-magazine series you will find insights from recent or ongoing CFI research projects. In a rundown of our Business of Financial Inclusion report, you will hear what commercial bank managers told us about the opportunities and challenges that they face in reaching unbanked and underbanked customers. You will also dive into how commercial banks are partnering with financial technology startups to serve new customers and broaden their product offerings. In the e-zine’s research spotlight, we take a critical look at how effective G2P payments have been in advancing financial inclusion. We also explore the role of microfinance in microenterprise growth. In addition, we discuss the importance of two emerging concepts, financial health and financial capability, and what these two frameworks mean for regulators, providers, and customers.

All of this work is unified by a focus on the customer. In advancing financial inclusion, we must make sure that we are not driven by account numbers, but by helping unserved and underserved customers reach their financial goals. That is why we are looking beyond 2020 to a world which provides financial inclusion to all, in every sense of the definition above.

Beyond the e-magazine, we are eager to look ahead to our work with dozens of financial inclusion leaders around the world who together are hosting Financial Inclusion Week 2016 from October 17-21. Last year, from November 2-6, 2015, 34 partner organizations engaged in conversations worldwide to discuss the most pressing actions needed to advance financial inclusion globally. In 2016, we aim to continue these conversations and engage an even wider community of stakeholders to discuss this year’s theme: keeping clients first in a digital world. Events will focus on how to ensure that clients are empowered and protected in a financial ecosystem that has moved beyond brick and mortar to cell phones and internet delivery channels. To get involved in Financial Inclusion Week 2016, click here.

To read the e-magazine, click here.

Have you read?

FI2020 Week E-Magazine: Themes, Highlights, and Calls to Action

New FI2020 E-Magazine: Three Essential Debates

Global Forum Roundup Magazine