Within Reach: How banks in emerging economies can grow profitably by being more inclusive

Many banks have opted out of targeting and serving underbanked consumers in developing countries, concluding that it is either too complex, costly or not profitable. In order to tackle these assumptions and to help banks better understand the nuances of what is required to capitalise on financial inclusion, CARE and Accenture joined forces to study the current financial inclusion capabilities and strategies of leading banks in developing countries. The outcome of this important research offers a set of key insights on how banks can profitably and responsibly meet the financial needs of unbanked and underbanked consumers.

The financial inclusion capability of 30 banks of different size and ownership, in 12 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, was researched and analysed using a maturity model which focuses on scalability, replicability, portability (across borders) and sustainability. The breadth of scope allowed comparative analysis of market nuances around financial inclusion and rated banks on a scale of maturity: trailing, basic, leading and advanced. The research found that just under a quarter of banks surveyed had financial inclusion as part of a coherent corporate strategy, but that forward-looking banks are developing new business models to address this significant market.

The report estimates that the global financial inclusion opportunity for banks is worth $380 billion, and it identifies six key insights for addressing this market responsibly and profitably:

  • Invest now or be left behind
  • Get the products right by taking a new view on customer segments
  • Start with payments and savings, then consider extending to credit
  • Use savings and loan groups as an entry strategy
  • Find the right balance between physical and digital capabilities
  • Align the operating model to a financial inclusion strategy
  • Countries: Global
  • Co-authors: Accenture
  • Published: November 2015

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