An axiom of banking is that access to the financial system is universally beneficial. Once people have bank accounts, they begin to save and their long term financial health improves. But the current financial situation in the US has changed customer’s outlooks on what is beneficial and beyond their means, and the financial crisis and has created a more permanent crisis of confidence in the financial industry. Meanwhile, developing nations have struggled to increase overall access to banking for their working poor, and found huge infrastructure barriers. But today, technology, particularly mobile, has paved ways allowing for greater access than ever before. In the developing world, mobile phones outnumber toilets. The opportunity to help consumers take advantage of participating in the financial system, and the subsequent rewards of that, has never been greater. But can banking be flexible enough to recognize this opportunity, and if it can’t, do we need traditional banking in order to help consumers gain greater financial inclusion? Today, Brett will be speaking to Kosta Peric, Deputy Director of Financial Services for the Poor at The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and to Jennifer Tescher, President & CEO, The Center for Financial Services Innovation about the exciting developments to help the poor gain greater access and how technology could be the key to greater inclusion.
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