Digital Financial Services: Challenges and Opportunities for Emerging Market Banks

25 Sep 2017

The digital transformation that has upended industries from retail and media to transport and business-to-business commerce is now sweeping the financial services industry, through the wide dissemination of digital financial services. This was inevitable, as ubiquitous computing power, pervasive connectivity, mass data storage, and advanced analytical tools can easily and efficiently be applied to financial services. After all, money was already extensively (though not exclusively) created, used, stored, processed, and delivered electronically.

Immediacy and personalization have become the norm for consumer goods and services. Consumers have rapidly become accustomed to making purchases with a touch of their finger wherever they may be, receiving tailored recommendations, choosing customized products, and enjoying delivery of almost any item directly to their front door. Businesses failing to adapt quickly to these technological developments can fail dramatically, and many have already done so, including Tower Records, Borders Books, Blockbuster Video, and countless travel agents and brick-and-mortar retailers. Consumers’ new
expectations apply to digital financial services as well.

Technology has transformed business-to-business and within business interactions, too, enabling reconfiguration of design, production, marketing, delivery, and service functions through distributed supply chains, freelance design, outsourced manufacturing, and contract warehousing and delivery. These reconfigurations are mediated by online marketplaces and distributors, and assisted by back-end support operations and data analysis that together drive better risk assessment, faster fulfillment and more efficient customer service.

The same types of disruptive market innovations and reconstituted value chains are now emerging in the form of digital financial services. This poses distinct challenges for incumbent providers such as banks, finance companies, microfinance institutions, and insurance companies, as financial technology—or FinTech—innovators enter their markets. Incumbents, too, can benefit from these developments, which will enable them to broaden financial access, introduce new products and services, and serve customers more efficiently by deploying new technologies internally or in partnership with external innovators.

Building a Secure and Inclusive Global Financial Ecosystem

08 Sep 2017

The 2017 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP) report evaluates access to and usage of affordable financial services by underserved people across 26 geographically, politically, and economically diverse countries. The report assesses these countries’ financial inclusion ecosystems based on four dimensions of financial inclusion: country commitment, mobile capacity, regulatory environment, and adoption of selected traditional and digital financial services.  The report further examines key developments in the global financial inclusion landscape, highlights selected financial inclusion initiatives within the 26 FDIP countries over the previous year, and provides targeted recommendations aimed at advancing financial inclusion.

Swadhaar, ACCION & AirTel Money: Mobile Money Training for Female Customers in India

20 Jun 2016

Customer marketing and education are always important to driving the adoption of mobile money, but they are absolutely crucial for female customers, who generally take more time than men to trust and start using mobile money services. In India, where uptake of mobile money has been slow—only 3% of women have heard of it and 0.1% have used it — customer education must be a key part of any successful mobile money initiative. This snapshot looks at how Swadhaar identified the needs of its urban and resource-poor female customers and then used these insights to create tailored training materials for a mobile money loan repayment pilot with Airtel Money in Mumbai, India.

Customer Experience Playbook

16 Jun 2016

CGAP partnered with Janalakshmi, the largest urban microfinance institution in India serving 3 million poor Indian women, and global development advisory, Dalberg, to understand the Janalakshmi customers’ journey and design and test customer experience improvements for them. One of the outputs from this work is this Customer Experience (CX) Playbook, which aims to help FSP staff serving poor customers, to implement customer experience improvements, and ultimately influence their organizations to build a culture of customer-centric innovation.

The CX Playbook is divided into the following eight sections detailing different stages of embedding customercentricity within the organization. Each section contains operating principles and useful tools for each stage. The Playbook also describes typical challenges faced in implementing such projects along with suggested solutions. Use the CX Playbook for either end-to-end CX projects or specific aspects such as user research or CX ideation.

  1. Introduction
  2. Customer Experience (CX) 101
  3.  Managing CX Projects
  4. Customer Research
  5.  Develop CX Ideas
  6. Prototyping
  7. Measuring & Sharing Results
  8. Scaling Up
  9. Adopting a CX Culture

The Status of Financial Inclusion, Regulation, and Education in India

29 Apr 2016

India’s financial inclusion agenda has witnessed a paradigm shift over the last decade, away from an emphasis on credit to a more comprehensive approach toward financial services (e.g., opening bank accounts and offering basic financial products, such as insurance). This paper describes the structure of banking and microfinance institutions in India relevant to the developing model of financial inclusion, as well as relevant regulatory structure and modes of delivery. It explains the current state of financial inclusion, as well as regulatory changes necessary to make the new architecture for inclusion viable, including a critique of some of the recommendations of the Mor Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low-Income Households. The paper then reviews modes of delivery and the regulatory structure being contemplated or recently introduced. It assesses the suitability objective envisaged as critical for inclusion, associated challenge of revamping consumer protection laws, and imperative of improving financial literacy. The paper also discusses the case of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in the given context

The ABCs of Financial Education: Experimental Evidence on Attitudes, Behavior, and Cognitive Biases

12 Nov 2015

Lessons on financial education from a field experiment in India

This paper uses a large scale field experiment in India to study attitudinal, behavioral, and cognitive constraints that stymie the link between financial education and financial outcomes. The study complements financial education with (i) participant classroom motivation with pay for performance on a knowledge test, (ii) intensity of treatment with personalized financial counseling, and (iii) behavioral nudges with financial goal setting. The analysis finds no impact of pay for performance but significant effects of both counseling and goal setting on real financial outcomes. These results identify important complements to financial education that can bridge the gap between financial knowledge and financial behavior change.

This paper is a product of the Finance and Private Sector Development Team, Development Research Group. It is part of a larger effort by the World Bank to provide open access to its research and make a contribution to development policy discussions around the world. Policy Research Working Papers are also posted on the Web at http://econ.worldbank.org. The corresponding author may be contacted at bzia@worldbank.org.

Voice of the Client: An analysis of client satisfaction and consumer protection across four microfinance institutions in India

01 Nov 2015

This report presents the findings of the Voice of the Client project in India, a ground-breaking initiative in the microfinance industry developed by Hivos and MIX to leverage mobile technologies as a means to analyze the level of satisfaction of clients with the suite of products and services offered by their MFIs. The analysis is based on data related to client protection principles which were collected from nearly 6,000 clients across four MFIs in India, namely Cashpor, Satin, Sonata, and Ujjivan.

The analysis represents a novel attempt to create benchmarks based on client-level data in the Indian market with the aim of providing MFIs and funders with actionable data sourced directly from clients that can be leveraged to address areas of weakness and improve operations accordingly. By regularly tracking how clients perceive the customer service they receive, microfinance stakeholders can design programs that can better meet client needs and preferences and, more broadly, improve their impact on the population they aim to serve.

 

Read more: http://www.themix.org/node/1814#ixzz3r2krhUJ2

Six Randomized Evaluations of Microcredit: Introduction and Further Steps

16 Sep 2015

This paper seeks to identify the causal effects of expanded access to microcredit on borrowers and communities using six randomized evaluations. The evaluations are based on a variety of sampling, data collection, experimental design, and econometric strategies. The methods are deployed across urban and rural areas of six countries in four continents representing vast disparities in terms of borrower characteristics, loan characteristics, and lender characteristics. The paper finds a consistent pattern of modestly positive, but non-transformative effects of microcredit. Other highlights include:

  • Studies do not find clear evidence, or even suggestive evidence, of reductions in poverty or substantial improvements in living standards;
  • There is strong evidence suggesting that businesses expand, though the extent of expansion may be limited, and there are hints that profits increase with access to microcredit;
  • Analysis shows that it is likely for access to microcredit to have an effect on occupational choice, business scale, consumption choice, female decision power, and improved risk management;
  • There is little evidence of harmful effects of microcredit, even with individual lending at high real interest rates;
  • Analysis of heterogeneous treatment effects of the studies suggest the possibility of transformative effects on some segments of microlenders’ target populations.