What The U.S. Can Learn About Financial Inclusion From The Developing World


Editor’s note: Matt Homer leads the Digital Finance team’s Policy and Partnerships work and USAID‘s financialinclusion investments in India. He was previously a member of the FDIC’s policy staff where his work included assessing the intersection of financialinclusion and mobile financial services.

Financial inclusion — expanding access to financial services to those on the margins — is often advocated as a priority for the developing world. And rightly so: It can increase economic security for the people who need it most and promote economic development where those people live.

But financial inclusion isn’t just a developing-world issue. To be sure, the challenge in developing countries dwarfs this challenge at home. Despite significant recent progress, the World Bank’s recently updated Global Findex Database indicates that 46 percent of adults in developing countries are “unbanked” or still do not have an account with a financial institution or mobile money provider.

Compare this to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) estimate  that just 7.7 percent of U.S. households don’t have…

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