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Financial Inclusion

Tapping an Invisible Market: We Can Make Financial Inclusion a Reality

Michael Schlein | Posted 01.23.2014 | Impact
Michael Schlein

It is time to think bigger -- making the "invisible market" a visible, thriving sector for sustainable growth, and helping 2.5 billion people work their way out of poverty and improve their lives.

Can E-Money Do to Banks What Amazon Did to Booksellers?

Tilman Ehrbeck | Posted 01.23.2014 | Technology
Tilman Ehrbeck

When people trust digital means of payment people start going "cash-lite." That's why mobile money is spreading in a number of developing economies, and why 40 percent of Americans now typically carry less than $20 cash in their wallets.

Redefining Success. Putting Money Back In Its Place.

John Hope Bryant | Posted 01.23.2014 | Small Business
John Hope Bryant

For 100 years the world has been on a fairly consistent march towards more and more free enterprise, and deeper and more sharp edged caverns of capitalism. And for approximately 80 of those years, most of the developed world was not on a bad path.

Mississippians Report Financial Challenges to Consumer Protection Bureau

Bill Bynum | Posted 11.24.2013 | Impact
Bill Bynum

A big obstacle is the closing of bank branches in small towns and low-income neighborhoods. "When the bank told us they were leaving in five weeks, it set off a small panic," said Kenneth Broome, the mayor of Utica, Miss.

G20 Lays Out Plan That Could Help World's Poor - If Leaders Step Up

John Ruthrauff | Posted 11.07.2013 | Impact
John Ruthrauff

The G20's focus in 2013-2014 will continue to include food security for the poorest families, providing financial services to rural poor who lack access to banks, and reducing the cost to immigrants sending remittances home to their families.

9 Points to Consider When Deciding on Impact Investments

Tilman Ehrbeck | Posted 11.05.2013 | Small Business
Tilman Ehrbeck

To think "a priori" about the likely market and business model characteristics will maximize the likelihood of success or, at least, make the challenges more explicit and therefore help manage expectations.

The Millenials and Now We're Making a Difference in Africa

Barry Segal | Posted 10.22.2013 | World
Barry Segal

Guest Blog Post by: Ashley Rogers Much has been said about my generation, the Millennials. We are painted as entitled, media-consumed, and apathetic....

Financial Inclusion in India: An Update

Bhagwan Chowdhry | Posted 10.20.2013 | Impact
Bhagwan Chowdhry

Three years ago I blogged "Is Financial Inclusion Imminent in India?" I have just returned from India after observing the progress India has made towards financial inclusion. Yes, there has been progress, but much remains to be done.

"Alternative Financing": An Unnecessary Evil or a Key Service for the Underbanked?

Gina Harman | Posted 10.19.2013 | Business
Gina Harman

It's important when participating in this conversation to understand who the underbanked are. And alarmingly, according to the 2011 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, they are 1 in 5 households in the U.S. (20.1 percent).

The Changing Face of the Marketplace

Gina Harman | Posted 10.16.2013 | Business
Gina Harman

A few things are clear: the marketplace is changing, the ranks of the underbanked are likely to grow, and alternatives to traditional banking relationships and products are playing a very significant role.

The Poor: An Endangered Species?

Bhaskar Chakravorti | Posted 10.05.2013 | Business
Bhaskar Chakravorti

More than a billion have been lifted out of poverty in the past twenty years; by 2030, the total number of poor people will be down to 200 million, with virtually none in China.

Financial Inclusion and The Digital Asset Transfer Authority (DATA)

Stan Stalnaker | Posted 09.28.2013 | Technology
Stan Stalnaker

On a planet rapidly coming online through mobile technologies, there's an urgent need to develop financial empowerment. Today, leaders from the emerging payment and virtual currency industry announced a Committee for the Establishment of the Digital Asset Transfer Authority.

Financial Inclusion and the Post-2015 Global Development Goals

Elisabeth Rhyne | Posted 08.24.2013 | World
Elisabeth Rhyne

The Eminent Persons panel put forward twelve illustrative goals, ranging from 1) End Poverty to 12) Create a Global Enabling Environment, and touching in between on health, education, water, energy, and other priorities.

What SMEs Do (and Don't Do) for Jobs

Tilman Ehrbeck | Posted 08.24.2013 | Small Business
Tilman Ehrbeck

For any budding Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, there are literally thousands of craftsmen, real estate agents, lawyers, and small shop or restaurant owners who might take the tax break, but won't create new jobs.

How Financial Innovation Helps the Poor Improve Their Lives

Tilman Ehrbeck | Posted 07.22.2013 | Impact
Tilman Ehrbeck

In the aftermath of the global crisis, public opinion in the North is less convinced of the merits of an inclusive financial system. How, exactly, does it help, when the reckless expansion of mortgage credit in North America just triggered the deepest recession in recent memory?

For Impact Investments, First Understand What Target Segments Really Need

Tilman Ehrbeck | Posted 06.10.2013 | Impact
Tilman Ehrbeck

Don't assume you know what customers want. You need to genuinely ask them. Better yet, you need to engage in a real dialogue, observe daily behaviors, and design an open-minded, joint discovery process.

Client Protection and Microfinance: Crossing a Threshold

Elisabeth Rhyne | Posted 03.26.2013 | Business
Elisabeth Rhyne

The global microfinance industry realized a significant and long-awaited goal this week with the introduction of Client Protection Certification as pr...

Behavioral Insights to Advance Financial Inclusion -- or Why Swedes Are Not Necessarily Better Human Beings Than Danes

Tilman Ehrbeck | Posted 02.18.2013 | Business
Tilman Ehrbeck

New products are being developed, and new policies are being formulated not on the basis of how people ought to behave, but based on what they actually do and not do.

The Better Than Cash Alliance Is Out to Create a "Cash Lite" World

Elisabeth Rhyne | Posted 11.25.2012 | Impact
Elisabeth Rhyne

Projects to pay government benefits and humanitarian aid in electronic form are a boon. They increase security and accountability while decreasing cost. Until now, however, such projects have been isolated, with no worldwide, deliberate, coordinated push.

The Hidden Champions of Low-Income Banking

Tilman Ehrbeck | Posted 11.13.2012 | Impact
Tilman Ehrbeck

Over the past few years, the concept of microcredit -- providing working capital loans to micro-entrepreneurs typically in the informal economy -- has come under scrutiny.

The Power of Hope: Graduation Programs for the Extreme Poor Do More Than Directly Reduce Poverty

Tilman Ehrbeck | Posted 09.17.2012 | Impact
Tilman Ehrbeck

In an important coordinated effort, ten pilots around the world are experimenting with a model initially developed by BRAC in Bangladesh that helps extremely poor families build assets and capabilities and ultimately "graduate" into sustainable livelihoods.

Money Management: What's a Bank Account For?

Elisabeth Rhyne | Posted 08.13.2012 | Money
Elisabeth Rhyne

The bank account as the central money management tool is simply not relevant for many low income people. If we want to assist people in their efforts to be competent money managers, what is the best mix of services?

Microfinance: Why Care About Institution Building?

Elisabeth Rhyne | Posted 09.06.2012 | Books
Elisabeth Rhyne

Rather than complaining that microloans aren't enough, those who support microfinance can work on figuring out how to use these great institutional resources to accomplish more.

Voices of Financial Inclusion: "It's the Clients, Stupid"

Elisabeth Rhyne | Posted 09.12.2011 | World
Elisabeth Rhyne

Industry players are moving beyond the "scale and sustainability" mantra that dominated microfinance during the past 15 years, with its laser focus on rapid growth and credit. Instead they are reaching back to where they began -- the clients.

Microinsurance, Microsavings and Microcredit Under One Roof

Bhagwan Chowdhry | Posted 05.25.2011 | Impact
Bhagwan Chowdhry

The meagre savings that the poor do manage to accumulate are rarely enough and there is a need for insurance against unfortunate events such as going hungry, undernourishment for children, and pulling children out of school.