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Microfinance Banks and Household Access to Finance

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  • Brown, Martin

    ()

  • Guin, Benjamin

    ()

  • Kirschenmann, Karolin

    ()

Abstract

We examine how the expansion of the branch network of a microfinance bank between 2006 and 2010 in South-East Europe has affected the use of bank accounts by households in the region. Our analysis is based on survey data reporting the use of bank accounts, socioeconomic characteristics and geographic location of 8,000 households in four countries. We geocode the location of each household and match this data with branch location information for the major microfinance bank in the region, ProCredit Bank, as well as for a large retail bank in each country. We report three key results: First, in locations where ProCredit opened a new branch between 2006 and 2010 the share of households with a bank account increased more than in locations where it did not open a new branch. Second, a new ProCredit branch leads to a stronger increase in the use of bank accounts among low- and middle-income households than among high-income households. Third, we find that ProCredit not only opens branches in areas with high economic activity, but also in areas where average household incomes are low. Overall our results suggest that microfinance banks do expand the frontier of finance as compared to ordinary retail banks.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Martin & Guin, Benjamin & Kirschenmann, Karolin, 2013. "Microfinance Banks and Household Access to Finance," Working Papers on Finance 1302, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:sfwpfi:2013:02
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    File URL: http://ux-tauri.unisg.ch/RePEc/usg/sfwpfi/WPF-1302.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Gunhild Berg, 2010. "Evaluating The Impacts Of Microsaving: The Case Of Sewa Bank In India," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 35(1), pages 75-96, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beck, Thorsten & Cull, Robert, 2013. "Banking in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6684, The World Bank.
    2. Allen, Franklin & Carletti, Elena & Cull, Robert & Qian, Jun & Senbet, Lemma & Valenzuela, Patricio, 2012. "Improving Access to Banking: Evidence from Kenya," Working Papers 12-11, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
    3. Nargiza Alimukhamedova & Randall Filer & Jan Hanousek, 2015. "The Importance of Geographic Access for the Impact of Microfinance," CESifo Working Paper Series 5433, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Brown, Martin, 2013. "The transmission of banking crises to households : lessons from the 2008-2011 crises in the ECA region," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6528, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Access to finance; Microfinance; Bank-ownership; Mission drift.;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • P34 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Finance

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