Paper

Financial Access 2009: Middle East & North Africa (MENA)- A Regional Snapshot

Measuring access to financial services in the MENA region
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This report presents results of a survey that involved main financial regulators in 139 countries of the MENA region. It covered indicators of access like measuring financial access, savings, credit and delivering financial services.

The report states that data availability for non-banking financial institutions and information on the number of loans in the region is limited. Other findings include:

  • Main financial regulators are less likely to supervise cooperatives and MFIs;
  • Regional cooperatives are not supervised by the main financial regulator;
  • Main financial regulators also regulates state financial institutions;
  • Wide variation is observed in deposit account ownership;
  • Deposit account balances are large relative to income suggesting banks service high income clients;
  • Countries reported policies promoting government-to-person transfers to individual bank accounts;
  • Loan penetration remains low;
  • Most countries use disclosure, and not usury ceilings, as the main consumer protection policy;
  • MENA countries tend to have fewer loans and deposit accounts per branch;
  • Wide variation us observed in geographical outreach;
  • Provision of financial services through postal system is dominated by the state entities.