Financial inclusion

The financial inclusion (or Inclusive Finance) is offering basic banking and financial services at low cost for consumers in difficulty and excluded from mainstream services. Banking services are today indispensable services to be integrated into society. Financial inclusion is therefore the counterpart of ” banking exclusion ” which is directly related to social exclusion. Today, financial inclusion measures have become important goals of retail banks.

Financial inclusion at the UN

On December 29, 2003, former Secretary-General Kofi Annan made financial inclusion a development issue .

The UN then defined major projects of financial inclusion as 1 :

  • Access, at a reasonable price for all households and businesses, to a wide range of financial services: savings, short and long-term credit, leasing and factoring, mortgages, insurance, pensions, payments, transfers in local currencies and shipments international funds;
  • Sound institutions guided by appropriate internal management systems, industry performance standards, performance monitoring, institutional transparency, accountability and sound prudential regulation;
  • Financial and institutional viability as a means of accessing financial services over a long period of time;
  • Multiple financial service providers, where possible, to offer a variety of varied and inexpensive alternatives to customers.

Financial inclusion in developed countries

Financial inclusion is then defined as the set of mechanisms put in place to fight against banking and financial exclusion . These resources make up what some now call “inclusive finance”. The role of banks is central to this process. Indeed, financial inclusion is not limited to access to an account, but to a more comprehensive control of banking tools. Banks can participate in the financial education of vulnerable clienteles as is the case of Savings Banks with Finance & Pedagogy. They can also offer their customers products and services that are better suited to their resources and needs.

Notes and references

  1. ↑ ( en ) United Nations Capital Development Fund , ” Vision and Mission Statement for Creating Inclusive Financial Sectors ”  [ archive ] , on uncdf.org (accessed November 10, 2010 )

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