the mif blog

Stories of inspiring entrepreneurs and organizations, discussion and commentary of new trends in private sector development, and the latest events and publications.

Sharing Lessons on Financial Inclusion between China and Latin America and the Caribbean

By Tomas Miller

Recently, I and a few MIF colleagues had the pleasure of traveling to Beijing for an international forum on financial inclusion that we co-sponsored with the People’s Bank of China. This was the latest meeting in the very rewarding MIF-China relationship, which began in 2009 when China first became an IDB member and a MIF donor. We have had the opportunity to exchange experience and information many times over the years, such as when representatives from Chinese financial institutions have attended our annual Foromic conferences, and at two previous seminars we co-sponsored and co-organized in China. At this event, six experts from the Latin American and Caribbean region, including financial institution executives and representatives of bank superintendencies, also joined us to share their experience.

Productivity and financial inclusion: a response to the economic slowdown

By Tomas Miller

How are financial inclusion and productivity linked? And why are these two pieces of the puzzle important for the economic development of Latin America and the Caribbean?

What good is capital without customers? Financial inclusion is necessary for healthy societies

By Tomas Miller

Trends is on vacation this week. This post ran previously on our blog. 

The financial inclusion strategies that several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are adopting and incorporating into their national development policies aim at increasing access to and use of financial services for segments of the population that have been excluded or underserved by financial systems. These policies assume that achieving a higher level of financial inclusion is a necessary condition for increasing the social inclusion of these excluded people. What good is having a solvent and liquid financial system if it serves only businesses and powerful families? What good is capital without customers? 

Banks are transforming themselves to reach the unbanked

By Tomas Miller

By Tomas Miller and Veronica Trujillo

There have been remarkable advances in financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean as measured by various indicators (access to bank accounts, supply of credit, insurance for micro and small enterprises, and availability of customer points of service) compared with levels in the previous decade. However, the region still falls short in terms of the overall penetration of its financial system and in comparison with other parts of the world. Access to and use of credit and savings—measured as the proportion of people that borrowed money or had savings accounts with formal financial institutions in the past year—reach only 11% and 14% of the region’s population, respectively. Also, the proportion of adults with any account at a financial institution or through a mobile banking provider is a mere 51%, compared with more than 60% globally, according to the The Global Findex Database 2014

How can we make better use of remittances?

By Tomas Miller

By Tomas Miller and Maria Luisa Hayem 

Headlines about international remittances—money sent by migrants to their countries of origin—often focus on amounts. In 2014, for example, remittances received in Latin America and the Caribbean managed to surpass the record high set in 2008, reaching $65.4 billion. But beyond their amount, remittances are an important tool for financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. We at the Multilateral Investment Fund have been working on the issue of remittances for 13 years. In that time, we have seen significant progress on many fronts, including: reductions in the cost of sending payments; the use of technologies such as the Internet and mobile phones to facilitate sending and receiving; and more efficient distribution through the growing number of points of service for receiving remittances, such as agent banking.