Access to Financial Services in Developing Countries: Identification of Obstacles. Liliana Rojas-Suárez July 2006

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1 Access to Financial Services in Developing Countries: Identification of Obstacles Liliana Rojas-Suárez July 2006

2 Background Even though banks are the most important providers of financial services Evolution of Financial Deepening (average ) 2/ Developing Countries Deposits/ GDP Credits/ GDP Industrialized Countries Deposits/ GDP Credits/ GDP Argentina Australia Brazil France Chile 1/ Norway Colombia Portugal Gabon Spain Ghana 0.12 N/A USA Kazakhstan 0.09 N/A Korea Malaysia Mexico Nigeria Romania Russian Federation 0.18 N/A Peru Poland Turkey Uganda Source: IMF, International Financial Statistics (November, 2005) 1/ Data for Chile comes from Chile's Central Bank 2/ Or latest available ratios of banking depth are very low (with the exception of East Asia and Chile)

3 The Issue Micro, small, and medium size enterprises (incubators of larger business projects) have very limited access to financial services An excessively high percentage of the population does not use banking services neither to make their transactions more efficient nor to invest their savings. This is specially severe in rural areas.

4 Obstacles to Financial Access Four categories: I. Economic and Social Factors II. III. IV. Financial Institution insufficiencies or inefficiencies Institutional Problems Regulatory Problems

5 I. Social and Economic Factors Obstacles Low access to social services is related to a low financial culture and deep informality Human Development Index and Deposits/GDP (percentages) 1 Human Development Index (2003) Deposits/GDP (2003) Source: IMF, International Financial Statistics (November, 2005) and PNUD (2005) Even in countries with relative higher financial deepening, there are important segments of poverty and informality. Example: Chile

6 I. Social and Economic Factors Obstacles Lack of trust in the banking system coupled with recent crises Deposits/GDP and Interest Rate Volatility ( ) 140 Average of the ratio Deposits/GDP Standard Deviation of Real Interest Rates Source: FMI, International Financial Statistics (November, 2004) The high volatility of real interest rates has a negative impact on the amount and terms of banking assets and liabilities

7 II. Financial Institutions Insufficiencies or Inefficiencies Problems faced by Depositors Insufficient banking branches (ATMs and other vehicles), especially in rural areas. This is due to: - Scale insufficiencies - Inadequate model of banking operation - Crime In some cases, the provision of banking services to rural areas is basically provided by state banks.

8 II. Financial Institutions Insufficiencies or Inefficiencies Problems faced by depositors High requirements of documentation to open bank accounts. This is due to: Inefficiencies in the collection and processing of banking information Titling problems (assets and labor contracts), which hamper an adequate evaluation of clients

9 II. Financial Institutions Insufficiencies or Inefficiencies Problems faced by depositors High maintenance costs of bank accounts. This is due to: Some inefficiencies in the banking activity Lack of competition Lack of adequate scale

10 II. Financial Institutions Insufficiencies or Inefficiencies Problems faced by businesses: Small and medium size firms report lack of financing as a central obstacle for their development Major obstacles for development as reported by Latin American Firms (percentage of sampled firms, ) Common Crime Financing Inflation Exchange Rate Corruption Organized Crime small medium large Political Instability Taxes and Regulations Infrastructure Soirce: IDB (2004)

11 II. Financial Institutions Insufficiencies or Inefficiencies Problems faced by businesses The characteristics of small and medium size firms (low diversification in sources of income, insufficiency of adequate collateral, lack of transparency in their balances) increase the risks faced by financial institutions when they lend to this sector (Fixed) banking monitoring costs relative to income derived from loans are greater for small and medium size enterprises than for large firms. As a result, banks need more guarantees, charge higher interest rates, and lend to small and medium size firms at shorter terms. Many banks do not have adequate models for risk evaluation

12 II. Financial Institutions Insufficiencies or Inefficiencies Problems faced by businesses Highly concentrated banking systems hamper the access to credit of small and medium size enterprises in countries with fragile institutions (lowest score in the rule of law Banking concentration and obstacles to financing indicator) 4 Index of Obstacles to Financing MEX CRI Banking Concentration The countries marked in red have low indicators of institutional quality Source: Beck, Demirgüç-Kunt y Maksimovic (2003)

13 III. Institutional Problems Obstacles Financial systems face important difficulties for their development in countries with low respect to the rule of law, political instability, judicial system ineffectiveness, and lack of protection to the rights of creditors and debtors Governance and banking credit Credit to the Private Sector/ GDP (percentages) Governance Index Source: IMF, International Financial Statistics (November 2004) and Kaufmann, Kraay and Mastruzzi (2005) The level of effort that is necessary to solve institutional problems is huge, but the potential benefits are even larger

14 III. Institutional Problems Obstacles Examples from Latin American Example: In Mexico, the direct debit scheme has not been very successful in spite of a good financial and legal infrastructure. One of the causes is consumers fear that the provider will not suspend the charges when they are asked to stop their services. Problems such as fraud and bureaucratic inefficiencies validate these fears (deficiencies in the judicial system) In El Salvador, where most of the productive land is uninhabited, the lack of a legal system that regularizes land tenure impedes its use as guarantee (deficiencies in property registries) In Chile, banks do not have consolidated information about both bank debt and debt acquired though credit cards of commercial businesses (deficiencies in registries of credit information)

15 IV. Obstacles Regulatory problems Distortionary taxes. For example Transaction Taxes, 2004 (percentages) Argentina / Bolivia / Brazil 0.38 Colombia 0.40 Peru / Venezuela / Source: Taken from Singh et al (2005); data for Perú from Deloitte (2005) 1/ In every side of the transaction 2/ Data for These taxes have an adverse effects on financial deepening (it encourages the use of cash; falls over the businesses with the least resources which cannot avoid the tax through off-shore transactions or operations with derivatives)

16 IV. Regulatory problems Obstacles Arbitrary maximum interest rates Harm smaller businesses the most since they impede aligning costs with credit risks Create an incentive for non transparent mechanisms of extending credit since they induce banks to charge higher commissions to compensate for the ceilings on interest rates

17 IV. Obstacles Regulatory problems Capital requirements that create an incentive for crowding out credit to the private sector, favoring instead the holding of government securities Latin America Government debt held by banks (as a percentage of total banking assets) 1/ Mexico Brazil Colombia El Salvador Germany Chile France Peru USA Sweden Norway Source: IMF, International Financial Statistics (November 2005) 1/ Includes private sector credit and securities emitted by central banks This effect is particularly important for Mexico and Brazil

18 Conclusions 1. The obstacles to financial access are many, and they involve the actions and decisions of banks, governments, businesses and families. 2. Many of the causes of insufficient provision of financial services are interrelated. 3. From points 1. and 2. there appears to be a need of achieving joint agreements between the public and private sectors. 4. Even though developing countries have several common obstacles, the obstacles intensity varies considerably among individual countries. In addition, there are also country-specific obstacles.

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