62% of world's adults have access to fin. services: World Bank
April 17, 2015
WASHINGTON (4/20/15)--The number of adults with access to financial services rose to 62% from 51% between 2011 and 2014, according to the World Bank's recently released Global Financial Inclusion database.
Financial inclusion is defined as having an account at a formal financial institution or through a mobile money provider. It also has been broadly recognized as critical in reducing poverty and achieving inclusive economic growth, the report noted.
Between 2011 and 2014, 700 million adults became account holders while the number of those without an account--the unbanked--dropped by 20% to 2 billion.
Account penetration, which increased by 13 percentage points, and technology are behind the growth. For instance, in sub-Saharan Africa, almost a third of account holders use financial services through mobile money accounts.
The World Council of Credit Unions and the E-Kenya Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCO) deliver financial services to rural Kenya with mobile technology and the M-Pesa mobile money transfer network (News Now Jan. 2).
Respondents said poverty (59%) and distance to financial institutions (21%) were among the biggest barriers to becoming banked.
Forty-two percent of women are unbanked compared with 35% of men;
Half of the unbanked adults--1 billion worldwide--belong to the poorest 40% of households; and
South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific are home to about half of the world's 2 billion unbanked adults.