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Financial Access and the Crisis: Where Do We Stand?

Asli Demirgüç-Kunt's picture

Do you wonder how the recent global crisis affected access to financial services? Well I do, and a report by the World Bank Group and CGAP just provided the answer: Data show that even as countries were suffering because of the financial crisis, access to formal financial services grew in 2009.  Indeed, the number of bank accounts grew world-wide, while at the same time the volume of loans and deposit accounts dropped. The physical outreach of financial systems— consisting of branch networks, automated teller machines (ATMs), and point-of-sale (POS) terminals—all expanded.

That’s a relief. Readers of this blog know by now that I am a strong believer in expanding access. Lack of access to finance is often the critical element underlying persistent income inequality as well as slower growth. But the recent global financial crisis has led us to question many of our beliefs and re-opened old debates. It also exposed an important tension between access and stability. Were we wrong to emphasize access in the light of what happened?

Migration and Remittances News Roundup: Sept 17, 2010

Ani Silwal's picture

No woman, no cry: a tale of surviving motherhood

Mamata Pokharel's picture

The scene was heart-wrenching. Janet, a young mother in rural Tanzania is having trouble giving birth, despite being way past her due date. She visits a nearby clinic where the nurse asks her if she has any food to eat, as she doesn't have enough strength to push the baby. “Without food, the baby will not come out,” says the nurse.

Europe and the United States object to yen intervention

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture

Important developments today:

1.  Japanese intervention to weaken yen draws criticism

2.  U.S. CPI moves up 0.3% in August (m/m) on higher food and fuel prices


O “Consenso de Brasília”

Mauro Azeredo's picture

O Brasil vive um momento excepcional, fruto de décadas de trabalho duro. Alcançou um desenvolvimento social e econômico impressionante, tirou da pobreza dezenas de milhões de pessoas e construiu uma economia que está crescendo fortemente e atravessou sem percalços a grande crise financeira global. Pode-se dizer que o país uniu desenvolvimento econômico com estabilidade e avanços sociais, no que já foi chamado de “Consenso de Brasília” – em contraposição ao de Washington, de conturbada memória.

School computers not working? There's an app for that!

Michael Trucano's picture

open things up, and you never know what unexpected paths may lie ahead | img attribution at bottomLast week I attended a brainstorming meeting as part of the World Bank's 'Apps for Development' initiative, in preparation for a competition that will be announced in October to bring software developers and development practitioners together to develop useful software tools and data visualizations that use World Bank data. This is (hopefully!) just the first stage in a broader initiative over time exploring how approaches to  'open data' (and not just those generated or warehoused by the World Bank) can help contribute to creation of useful software tools to help with a variety of development challenges.

In addition to an engaging Q&A with various luminaries (including Tim O'Reilly), most of the time was spent in small groups where software developers, data folks and subject experts in various fields came together to brainstorm about how various development challenges might be approached in new ways, and how to harness developer communities of various sorts around the world to help out.

Oops! International Literacy Day

Saadia Iqbal's picture

Youthink! confession: What with launching our new site and all, we kind of forgot to make a note of International Literacy Day, which was on September 8. Well, our philosophy (one of our philosophies, anyway—we have quite a few), is “better late than never.” So, on that note, we’re taking a belated look at this important day.