Responsible Finance Forum

FINTECH FOR FINANCIAL INCLUSION | A FRAMEWORK FOR DIGITAL FINANCIAL TRANSFORMATION

11 Oct 2018

The full potential of FinTech for financial inclusion may be realized with a strategic framework of underlying infrastructure and an enabling policy and regulatory environment to support digital financial transformation.  Drawing from experiences in a range of developing, emerging and developed countries, our research suggests that the best approach is staged and progressive, focused on four main pillars. This is a major journey for any economy, but one that experience increasingly suggests has tremendous potential to transform financial inclusion and support digital economic development. Access the report for more insights.

This publication is available through AFI’s website

RESPONSIBLE USE OF PERSONAL DATA AND AUTOMATED DECISION-MAKING IN FINANCIAL SERVICES

10 Oct 2018

The opportunities and risks presented by innovative digital finance solutions are two sides of the same coin, with digitisation holding enormous potential for advancing financial inclusion in innovative ways in developed and developing economies alike. Digital financial services (DFS) are deemed to be a huge game changer, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where the number of individuals making use of digital payments increased by 68.5 million from 2014 to 2017. With the 2030 Agenda acknowledging that financial services are an important driver of sustainable development, the digitisation of financial services are an enabling and powerful way to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Digitisation presents an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate access to finance for the financially excluded and underserved.

This paper builds on GIZ’s 2016 discussion paper Data protection in the context of digital financial services and Big Data and on its 2017 report on Selected Regulatory Frameworks on Data Protection for Digital Financial Inclusion. It seeks to provide financial sector policy-makers and regulators with orientation in their work to develop appropriate regulatory frameworks for data-intensive financial services (DIFS) – frameworks that, in the interests of financial inclusion, should ensure to safeguard people’s privacy as well as to promote innovation.

–Foreword by Natascha Beinker, German Co-Chair G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) 

ACHIEVING DEVELOPMENT AND ACCEPTANCE OF AN OPEN AND INCLUSIVE DIGITAL PAYMENTS INFRASTRUCTURE

20 Aug 2018

A report by the Better Than Cash Alliance for the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion

This guidance note serves as input for the GPFI Policy Guide developed under Argentine Presidency 2018 with the overarching topic of digitization and informality.

Developed for financial inclusion policymakers and payment service regulators, it proposes policy options and practical actions that can help moving toward developing open and inclusive digital payment infrastructures, while also incentivizing the acceptance and use of digital payments.

Endorsed by the G20 finance ministers, the note outlines the role of such infrastructures in the evolving financial services landscape, along with the issues in the establishment and beneficial use of such infrastructures. Additionally, a set of practical options is included to help guide government officials in crafting policies and actions for the progressive development of their national payment infrastructures.

GLOBAL FINANCIAL DEVELOPMENT REPORT: BANKERS WITHOUT BORDERS

20 Jun 2018

Perhaps no sector than banking better illustrates both the potential benefits and perils of deeper international integration. In the wake of the global financial crisis, the globalization trend has been partially reversed, as multinational banks from developed countries—“the North”—have scaled back their international operations. On the other hand, developing country banks continued their international expansion, accounting for 60% of the new entry into foreign markets. In particular, “South–South” transactions— from developing countries to other developing countries—started growing. However, international banking is no panacea for guaranteeing financial development and stability. Recent research suggests that for designing effective policies, it is important to keep in mind differences in bank characteristics and home and host country conditions.

Countries that are open to international banking can benefit from global flows of funds, knowledge, and opportunity, but the regulatory challenges are complex. Encouraging the right type of foreign bank presence or forms of capital flows without causing distortions is challenging. Regulation and supervision of international banking is complex and should involve extensive cross-border coordination. The rise of South-South banking and greater regionalization of banking comes with benefits but also possible risks. Fintech developments may have important implications for the global banking landscape.

UGANDA COUNTRY ASSESSMENT ON AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE REMITTANCES FOR FORCIBLY DISPLACED PERSONS AND HOST COMMUNITIES

20 Jun 2018

Although the market for providing remittance services to refugees is large, financial service providers have found it difficult to develop a business case for targeting them. The cost of reaching and ensuring liquidity at their remote locations, uncertainty regarding acceptable identification, and limited information about refugees’ needs and abilities have limited the business case, leaving them without access to convenient, low-cost remittance services. As such, many refugees depend on expensive, ad-hoc and, sometimes, risky solutions to overcome legal and logistical challenges to accessing remittance services. There is an opportunity for development agencies to intervene by supporting remittance and financial service providers, and influencing the policy environment to make serving refugees feasible and commercially viable.

The Uganda country assessment provides an overview of the demand, supply and regulatory constraints that FDPs face, especially, when accessing formal remittance channels and present key situation findings and reflections from a diverse set of stakeholders that will support humanitarian and development agencies to determine ways to improve access to affordable and reliable regulated remittance services and offer remittance and financial service providers the insights to assess whether or not there is a viable business case to link remittances to broader financial services such as credit, savings, insurance, or payment.

This publication was originally posted on UNCDF’s website.

THE FUTURE OF SUPPLY CHAINS: WHY COMPANIES ARE DIGITIZING PAYMENTS

15 Jun 2018

New report underscores benefits of shifting from cash to digital payments in corporate supply chains.

Drawing on data and interviews with around 40 companies and organizations, the report shows how digitizing supply chain payments is having a profound impact on global businesses, economies and individuals. For example, in Kenya, small Unilever retailers grew sales by 20 percent thanks to accessing digital working capital loans. In Bangladesh, when H&M, Marks & Spencer, Target, Li & Fung, Lindex, Debenhams and Fast Retailing partnered with HERfinance, the number of instances when a woman was unable to save dropped by almost 70 percent.

These companies’ experience underscores why digital payments are a key pillar of a strong business model, and the lessons documented in the report are designed to help other brands know how to get started.

This publication is available on BTCA’s website

ACCELERATING FINANCIAL INCLUSION WITH NEW DATA

25 May 2018

This report—produced in partnership with the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and based on in-depth interviews with banks, fintechs, and other actors—examines how new types of data and new data tools present an unprecedented opportunity for financial service providers to better understand and serve clients, especially credit-seeking “thin-file” clients who are otherwise excluded from the formal financial sector. There are many internal and external challenges that providers must address for the promise of new data to be fully realized. From getting the right culture and technical talent in place to engaging with regulators and partners on data sharing and management, there are numerous obstacles to negotiate in capitalizing on the explosion of new data to reach underserved and unserved markets with new commercially viable solutions.

Modelo Peru: A Mobile Money Platform Offering Interoperability Towards Financial Inclusion

25 May 2018

everal emerging markets around the world face numerous challenges in their attempts at increasing their provision of financial services. Beginning in 2015, Peru implemented a strategy called Modelo Peru with the objective of launching a mobile money platform to reach and better serve the unbanked and underbanked. This strategy gathers financial institutions, telecom companies, and the government in an effort to achieve interoperability among these three groups and attain scale and breed competition among e-money issuers.

However, two years after the implementation of the strategy the number and value of transactions has not reached its desired level. Important challenges to succeed include investing in a wider distribution network to better reach the unbanked, and building a strong digital ecosystem that makes the platform relevant and understandable to users. These challenges require better collaboration from all parties involved as well as strong political will. Absent those, mobile financial services in Peru will remain an alternative financial service rather than a tool for financial inclusion.

Digital Access: The Future of Financial Inclusion in Africa

23 May 2018

The launch and growth of digital financial services in Africa has led to an unprecedented increase in the number of people enjoying access to formal financial services. The continent is now home to more digital financial services deployments than any other region in the world, with almost half of the nearly 700 million individual users worldwide. Mobile money solutions and agent banking now offer affordable, instant, and reliable transactions, savings, credit, and even insurance opportunities in rural villages and urban neighborhoods where no bank had ever established a branch.

Asia’s digital banking race: Giving customers what they want

23 May 2018

Asia’s banking customers are migrating to digital channels in force. The challenge for the region’s banks is to deliver superior digital experiences before competitors do.

Smartphones in hand, customers across Asia are changing how they bank, growing more open to exploring and using digital channels for their financial needs. This openness to digital channels will reward those banks that can meet customers’ expectations; but it also represents a challenge to incumbent banks—because customers are also expressing a willingness to bank with non-traditional players such as fintechs and nonbanking payments players. Incumbent banks need a response to this changing landscape if they are to remain relevant and sustain growth.

The insights in this report are based on McKinsey’s Asia Personal Financial Services Survey, which addresses changes in customer behavior, reflecting themes like digital banking and the use of fintechs or nonbanking payments solutions. Conducted every three years since 1998, the most recent survey covered about 17,000 respondents in 15 Asian markets.

Above excerpt from McKinsey’s website.