The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, Citi, and Visa Inc. Launch Financi...

Jan 2013
Global, January, 28 2013 - The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, together with Citi and Visa Inc., today announced the launch of the Financial Inclusion 2020 campaign (FI2020). FI2020 is focused on the acceleration of financial inclusion by uniting the private sector, governments, NGOs, and other relevant parties to develop and advance a comprehensive strategy to achieve this aim.

"Over two billion people worldwide lack access to basic financial services, missing out on opportunities to contribute to their countries' growth," said Elisabeth Rhyne , Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion. "The goal of financial inclusion is to provide access to a range of quality financial services at affordable prices, delivered with convenience and dignity, while ensuring the right tools and protections are in place. This can change the course of an individual's, family's, or community's future and build stronger and more resilient economies."

Using the year 2020 as a focal point to galvanize action, FI2020 aims to realize full financial inclusion by widening responsible access to credit, payment tools, savings and insurance.

"Expanding financial inclusion is both a development imperative for underserved communities and a forward-thinking approach to unlocking the economic potential of new markets," said Pamela Flaherty , President & CEO of the Citi Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship at Citi. "Citi is pleased to take a leadership role in joining the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and Visa to convene longtime partners and invite new stakeholders to work together to create universal access to quality financial services and drive sustained economic growth."

In early 2011, the Center for Financial Inclusion conducted a survey of more than 300 industry experts around the globe and across a range of stakeholders, resulting in the publication of Opportunities and Obstacles to Financial Inclusion. Building on those expert recommendations, FI2020 is now working with more than fifty partners to develop a Roadmap to Financial Inclusion. As part of this process, five multi-stakeholder working groups are already developing the campaign's framework around the following themes:

  • Clients and Products, chaired by Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), focuses on deepening our understanding of client needs and translating that knowledge into practice while expanding the range of financial services available to underserved markets.
  • Technology, chaired by Visa, analyzes the potential of new technology-intensive channels to reach new customers, lower operating costs, increase security, and diversify financial products available to low-income clients.
  • Financial Capability, chaired by Citi, focuses on empowering clients to know their rights as consumers, and to have the skills, attitudes, aspirations, and confidence to exercise those rights.
  • Client Protection, chaired by the Smart Campaign, outlines steps to deepen the implementation of client protection measures for the benefit of clients and stability of markets.
  • Credit Reporting, chaired by International Finance Corporation (IFC), promotes extending credit reporting systems in order to expand access for new clients while managing risk for financial institutions.

"We know full financial inclusion is achievable if the private sector, governments and civil society work together," said Bill Gajda , Head of Global Mobile Product, Visa. "Innovations such as mobile money will allow us to reach everyone, everywhere with financial services. Achieving full financial inclusion will not only improve the lives of billions of people, it will drive economic growth, accelerate women's empowerment and remove a major obstacle in the fight against global poverty. The time is right for this initiative, and Visa is proud to join with Citi and the Center for Financial Inclusion in support of FI2020."

A Roadmap to Financial Inclusion will be presented at the Financial Inclusion 2020 Global Forum to be held on October 28-30, 2013 in London. The Global Forum will be one of many ways in which FI2020 will engage a diverse group of actors who can advance the agenda, inspire investment in invisible markets, place client perspectives at the center of the discussion, and work in partnership across sectors, through coordinated and collaborative actions that will impact the lives of financially excluded individuals worldwide.

"Our vision is to build a financially inclusive world where everyone has access to financial tools that can improve their lives," said Michael Schlein , President and CEO of Accion. "To do so, we need to expand the conversation to include a wider range of partners. If we can get a broader group of stakeholders to see themselves as part of the movement to build economic opportunity for all, this will be the moment when financial inclusion begins to be a reality."

Source : PR Newswire

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