Cross-border banking has grown dramatically in recent decades through financial liberalization, consolidation, and integration around the world. In the pursuit of higher profitability and diversification, many banks extended their activities beyond their home countries, opening branches or subsidiaries abroad and making the global banking landscape more international. The share of foreign banks in host countries increased from around 25% in 2000 to 33% in 2007. Even though the share of assets owned by foreign banks declined from 13% in 2007 to 10% in 2013, the share of foreign banks as the total number of banks was still 36% in 2013 (Claessens and Van Horen, 2015).
Urbanization, when combined with innovations in payments technologies (virtual and complementary currencies), provides an opportunity to finance sustainable city development funds and achieve financial inclusion for urban communities. Virtual and complementary currencies (in paper, electronic, or mobile forms) are representations of value (IMF, 2016) that urban populations can purchase with official currency and use in their daily intra-city payments transactions. Doing so would amount to intra-city bartering, leveraging urban population density to finance a city sustainable development fund with the official currency saved. This fund, equivalent to bank reserves but under community control, can in turn be leveraged to finance fixed assets (dwellings) and physical infrastructures in partnership with investors. By banking official currency through the sale of an appropriate means of intra-community payments (paper, electronic, or mobile), the urban unbanked could be financially included.
- Sustainable Communities