Financial Inclusion and the Role of the Post Office

32 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Jose Anson

Jose Anson

Universal Postal Union

Alexandre Berthaud

Universal Postal Union

Leora F. Klapper

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Dorothe Singer

World Bank

Date Written: October 1, 2013

Abstract

Given their widespread presence in rural and poor areas, post offices can play a leading role in advancing financial inclusion. Yet little is known about the type of clients that post offices reach through their financial service offerings as compared with clients of traditional financial institutions (such as commercial banks). This paper documents and analyzes account ownership patterns at post offices in comparison with traditional financial institutions, using the Global Financial Inclusion Indicators (Global Findex) database, which collects data on account ownership at post offices in 60 countries where postal accounts are offered. Controlling for a host of individual characteristics and country fixed effects, the paper finds that post offices are relatively more likely than traditional financial institutions to provide accounts to individuals who are most likely to be from financially vulnerable groups, such as the poor, less educated, and those out of the labor force. The paper also uses data from the Universal Postal Union to explore the degree to which different postal business models and the size of the postal network help explain differences in account ownership patterns. The results suggest that post offices can boost account ownership by acting as cash-merchants for transactional financial services, such as electronic government and remittance payments, and that partnerships between the post office and other financial institutions coincide with a higher bank account penetration. The paper also finds that the size of the postal network matters; the larger the network-relative to the network of traditional financial institutions -- the more likely it is that adults have an account at the post office.

Keywords: Postal Services, Access to Finance, Emerging Markets, E-Business, Competitiveness and Competition Policy

Suggested Citation

Anson, Jose and Berthaud, Alexandre and Klapper, Leora F. and Singer, Dorothe, Financial Inclusion and the Role of the Post Office (October 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6630, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2343708

Jose Anson (Contact Author)

Universal Postal Union ( email )

Case postale 312
3000 BERNE 15
Switzerland

Alexandre Berthaud

Universal Postal Union ( email )

Case postale 312
3000 BERNE 15
Switzerland

Leora F. Klapper

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-473-8738 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/lklapper

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Dorothe Singer

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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