Financial inclusion is receiving increasing attention as having the potential to contribute to economic and financial development while at the same time fostering more inclusive growth and greater income equality. Although substantial progress has been made, there is still much to achieve. East Asia, the Pacific, and South Asia combined account for 55% of the world’s unbanked adults, mainly in India and the People’s Republic of China.
This book surveys the experience of a number of advanced and Asian emerging economies to assess factors affecting the ability of low-income households and small firms to access financial services, including financial literacy, financial education programs, and financial regulatory frameworks, as well as identify policies that can improve their financial access while maintaining financial stability. It aims to identify successful experiences and important lessons that can be adopted by other emerging economies. The studies cover the experiences of Germany, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
The book adopts a practical and holistic approach to issues related to financial inclusion. For example, innovative methods of promoting financial access, such as mobile phone banking and microfinance, require corresponding innovations in regulatory frameworks, perimeters, and capacity. Moreover, programs in the areas of financial education and consumer protection are needed to enable households and firms to take full advantage of improvements in financial access.