Banking on Change: Breaking Barriers to Financial Inclusion
This report describes the achievements of Banking on Change, an initiative towards financial inclusion that Barclays, CARE International UK, and Plan UK have implemented in eleven countries, mainly in Africa. It outlines how the partnership has sought to tackle some of the barriers to financial inclusion it has faced. Banking on Change attempts to link informal Village Savings and Loans Associations to formal banking services. It has reached 513,000 people in three years. Barriers faced include lack of financial understanding between providers and consumers, gender and age discrimination, poor people's low income and erratic cash flow, lack of suitable products and processes, geographic distances, high transaction costs for banks, and national and international policies that inhibit financial inclusion. Recommendations include:
- Ensure financial inclusion is part of the new UN Development framework;
- Recognize group banking as a springboard to financial inclusion;
- Build bridges between informal and formal financial sectors;
- Invest in, and expand access to, financial literacy;
- Develop strong checks and balances to protect poor and vulnerable people.