To help banks better understand the nuances of the strategies and capabilities that can effect financial inclusion, CARE and Accenture joined forces to study the current capabilities and strategies of 30 leading banks across 12 developing and emerging countries. The outcome of this important research offers insights on how banks can best meet the financial needs of underbanked consumers. Many banks in emerging regions already have a good starting point for developing their core strategies and business models toward financial inclusion. They have the capital, potentially the brands, some of the knowledge, and many of the capabilities. They are well versed in the financial solutions that could meet the needs of underbanked consumers—from payments and safe money stores to credit and investment possibilities. Still, the conditions for successfully and responsibly addressing underbanked consumers are different from those banks typically experience. For example, underbanked consumers generally are geographically dispersed, have low levels of awareness of formal financial services, lack credit history, have fluctuating income levels, and often distrust banks. Additionally, administration burdens, delivery channels, cost structures, institutional mind-set, and regulatory mandates influence how banks can effectively and profitably address the market in terms of customer engagement, product relevance, product availability, channels to market, pricing and commercial planning. This report highlights the opportunity for banks to unlock the rewards of responsible financial services as well as identifies key insights on how banks can grow profitably by being more inclusive. Drawing on our study examples and interviews, we highlight in this report six key insights on how banks can grow profitably by being more inclusive:
• Invest now or be left behind.
• Get the products right by taking a new view on customer segments.
• Start with payments and savings, then consider extending to credit.
• Use savings and loan groups as an entry strategy.
• Find the right balance between physical and digital channel capabilities.
• Align the operating model to a financial inclusion strategy.