Bancolombia: Financial Inclusion and Banking Correspondents
Colombia has had an impressive improvement in financial inclusion in the past ten years: 12 million adults were brought into the financial system between 2008 and 2018, resulting in 81 percent of adults with access to a financial account. Nevertheless, great disparities are present between urban and rural communities, where access to a financial account is 33 percent lower in rural municipalities relative to urban ones.
However, Colombia has seen its agent networks expand significantly, going from 3,500 agents in 2008 to 56,200 in 2020, covering all rural municipalities with at least one agent. One financial service provider that leads agent network coverage is Bancolombia, a private bank which holds the most active rural agents in the country. This case study, developed in collaboration with Bancolombia and Marulanda Consultores, goes in-depth on how the bank’s agent network expansion strategy evolved and the agent network management models it developed to increase geographic coverage in a viable manner. This study highlights insights that may be valuable to financial service providers across the world looking to inform their strategies to serve the most significant segments of lower-income customers.
This work was funded in whole or in part by CGAP. Unlike CGAP's official publications, it has not been peer reviewed or edited by CGAP, and any conclusions or viewpoints expressed are those of the authors, and they may or may not reflect the views of CGAP staff.