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Banking services for everyone ? Barriers to bank access and use around the world

  • Beck, Thorsten
  • Demirguc-Kunt, Asli
  • Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad

Using information from 193 banks in 58 countries, the authors develop and analyze indicators of physical access, affordability, and eligibility barriers to deposit, loan, and payment services. They find substantial cross-country variation in barriers to banking and show that in many countries these barriers can potentially exclude a significant share of the population from using banking services. Correlations with bank- and country-level variables show that bank size and the availability of physical infrastructure are the most robust predictors of barriers. Further, the authors find evidence that in more competitive, open, and transparent economies, and in countries with better contractual and informational frameworks, banks impose lower barriers. Finally, though foreign banks seem to charge higher fees than other banks, in foreign dominated banking systems fees are lower and it is easier to open bank accounts and to apply for loans. On the other hand, in systems that are predominantly government-owned, customers pay lower fees but also face greater restrictions in terms of where to apply for loans and how long it takes to have applications processed. These findings have important implications for policy reforms to broaden access.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4079.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4079
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  1. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman, 1999. "Finance and the sources of growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2057, The World Bank.
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  3. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 2005. "Financial and Legal Constraints to Growth: Does Firm Size Matter?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 137-177, 02.
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  6. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
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  8. Djankov, Simeon & Caralee, McLiesh & Nenova, Tatiana & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "Who Owns the Media?," Scholarly Articles 3606236, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  16. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  21. Estache, Antonio & Goicoechea, Ana, 2005. "A"research"database on infrastructure economic performance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3643, The World Bank.
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  24. Petersen, Mitchell A & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1995. "The Effect of Credit Market Competition on Lending Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 407-43, May.
  25. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, 2005. "Reaching out : access to and use of banking services across countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3754, The World Bank.
  26. Ayyagari, Meghana & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2006. "How important are financing constraints ? The role of finance in the business environment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3820, The World Bank.
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  28. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2002. "Financial and legal constraints to firm growth - Does size matter?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2784, The World Bank.
  29. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
  30. Atif Mian, 2006. "Distance Constraints: The Limits of Foreign Lending in Poor Economies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(3), pages 1465-1505, 06.
  31. Berger, Allen N. & Udell, Gregory F., 2006. "A more complete conceptual framework for SME finance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2945-2966, November.
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