Access to finance

Making Financial Services Accessible and Affordable to All

Promoting access to finance is one of WSBI’s priority areas. WSBI members have a crucial and long-standing role in the provision of access to finance to populations of all strata. Members offer accessible and affordable financial services that are crucial to expanding access in both developing and developed countries. Academic research has confirmed that WSBI members reach out to the largest body of people, offering financial services across the world.

WSBI works towards the objective to raise the profile of savings and socially committed retail banks as key contributors to maintaining and expanding access to financial services in their countries.

WSBI’s Position and the importance of access to finance

Having access to financial services for an individual means that he or she is able to store funds safely, invest them productively, or use them when needed as a means of exchange for goods and services. A lack of access to these services can result in social exclusion. For society, an increased level of access to finance is associated with economic growth and better income distribution, which ultimately leads to a greater social cohesion and to poverty reduction.

WSBI represents and promotes members’ interests at the local, national or international level, working towards:

  • A stronger recognition of the crucial contribution of WSBI members to increase access to finance in both developing and developed countries. WSBI members are the largest suppliers of accessible financial services in the world.
  • Encouraging the establishment of proximity banks, such as savings and socially committed retail banks, who have built a long-established and broad architecture for access. WSBI believes that this should yield more impact on improved access than scattered efforts to build a new, small-scale architecture solely around the microfinance model.
  • WSBI calls upon policymakers in governments, regulatory bodies and international financial development institutions to facilitate access to finance by:
  • Enabling an environment for financial sector development providing the necessary fundamentals for a stable financial system with sound policies for its development and not by mandating access or interfering with product design.
  • Ensuring that rules and regulations are practical and do not impair access to financial services by better understanding and taking into account the peculiarities of reaching out to underserved communities, for instance when tailoring requirements for physical security, anti-money laundering and loan provisioning.
  • Allowing for pluralism in the financial sector where different types of financial institutions can operate next to each other and none is discriminated on the basis of its legal form or the way it uses its profits.


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