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Banking Services for Everyone? Barriers to Bank Access and Use Around the World


Thorsten Beck


City University London - Sir John Cass Business School; Tilburg University - European Banking Center, CentER

Asli Demirgüç-Kunt


World Bank - Financial and Private Sector Development; World Bank

Maria Soledad Martinez Peria


World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

December 2006

World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4079

Abstract:     
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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 60

Keywords: Banks & Banking Reform, Financial Intermediation, Economic Theory & Research, Financial Crisis Management & Restructuring, Competitiveness and Competition Policy

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Date posted: December 7, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Beck, Thorsten and Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli and Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, Banking Services for Everyone? Barriers to Bank Access and Use Around the World (December 2006). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4079. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=950134

Contact Information

Thorsten Beck (Contact Author)
City University London - Sir John Cass Business School ( email )
106 Bunhill Row
London, EC1Y 8TZ
United Kingdom
Tilburg University - European Banking Center, CentER ( email )
PO Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
Asli Demirgüç-Kunt
World Bank - Financial and Private Sector Development ( email )
United States
202-473-7479 (Phone)
202-522-1155 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/ademirguckunt/
World Bank ( email )
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States
Maria Soledad Martinez Peria
World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )
1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-458-7341 (Phone)
202-522-1155 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/smartinezperia
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