Financial Inclusion

5 posts
Want to Fight Poverty? Give Women Financial Equality.

It seems hard to believe, but as recently as the 1970s, it was still legal for U.S. banks to refuse to issue a credit card to a woman because of her gender, and to require a husbands’ permission before married women could get credit or start a business. Keep that context in mind as you consider the following statistics about women’s financial and economic rights and access in the developing...

0 1
Can Government-led Financial Inclusion Work?

Based only on the headline numbers, India’s financial inclusion program seems like a remarkable success. Less than one year after Prime Minister Modi launched the financial inclusion initiative called Jan Dhan Yojana (Hindi for “People Money Scheme”), 158,600,000 bank accounts have been opened. This progress has garnered international headlines, and even set a Guinness World Record for the most new accounts opened in one week (18,096,130 between August 23 and...

1 1
Overcharging the Poor: Why Do We Accept Banks’ Pricing Double Standard?

Consider this shopping horror story: You go to the supermarket to buy groceries, selecting your usual items. But when you arrive at the checkout line, the clerk asks for your annual income. Though the question seems rather intrusive, you tell her. As she begins scanning your purchases, you notice that each item has two price tags on it, one white and one red. The white tags reflect the regular prices,...

0 1
The $17 Trillion Stimulus: 3 Key Reasons to Fight Poverty Among Women

The question of how to help the poor is the subject of endless debate. But there’s a topic within the debate that should inspire universal agreement: the importance of reducing the toll of poverty among women and girls. In a world where females comprise the majority of the over 1 billion people living in extreme poverty, and 1 in 3 American women are either poor or living on the brink,...

0 2
Socially Conscious Banking

Alerting all banks! Last month, Cisco released a global customer survey revealing some alarming news for banks. In the 12 countries surveyed, nearly one in four bank customers intend to choose another provider for their next financial product or service. And four out of five would trust a non-bank to handle their banking needs. But perhaps the most noteworthy finding was this: almost 30 percent of bank customers do not...

0 2
The Credit Scoring Industry is Ripe for Disruption

Last fall, a few months after leaving his job as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke tried to refinance his mortgage. In spite of his prior position, a recent seven-figure book deal and the ability to earn a quarter-million dollars for giving a single speech, the bank turned him down for the loan. The amount: less than what he’d earn with three speeches. Bernanke’s experience highlights flaws in a...

0 3
Empowering Customers

Imagine the following scenario: after going without a bank account her entire life, a poor Pakistani woman establishes a checking account to accept government support payments. She takes her new debit card to the local ATM to withdraw some cash for the first time. After entering her PIN three times without success, the machine swallows her card on the assumption that she was trying to use it fraudulently. If you...

0 1
Underbanked and Underserved

The terms “unbanked” and “underbanked” are falling out of favor. Traditionally, they’ve referred to people who use alternative financial services, such as check cashers or payday loans, because they either lack a bank account or fail to use the accounts they have. The general assumption about both groups is that they lack the income or financial savvy to access these services at a bank. However this stereotype doesn’t always hold...

0 0
ROSCAs On The Rise

They’ve gotten glowing coverage in the financial inclusion press. They’ve been featured twice in the New York Times in the past two months. They’re the subject of prominent research projects and a new book by a microfinance pioneer. It’s fair to say that savings groups, often called Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs), are “having a moment.” Yet in spite of this momentum, many people – in the developed world...

0 0
Mystery Shoppers and Financial Inclusion

With the holiday shopping season upon us, it’s likely you’ll find yourself jostling with other shoppers at a crowded store in the coming weeks. Although, some of these “shoppers” might be better described as secret agents. The holidays are a prime time for mystery shoppers: people contracted by market researchers, watchdog groups, and retailers to mimic the interactions of real customers in various shopping scenarios. These mystery shoppers provide detailed...

0 2