Week of August 9, 2013

This week’s "New and Noteworthy" includes several stories on the intersection of banking and technology. Emerging trends show more people relying on digital platforms for financial services, including sending money home.  While technology has the potential to reach the unbanked, CGAP reminds us not to forget social inclusion as we work toward this goal.

  • What's next for Grameen Bank? A government commission was said to be planning an announcement that it would take a controlling stake in the bank, diluting existing shareholders and perhaps breaking the bank up. Since that story emerged, the government of Bangladesh has denied it, but does seem to say that it will change the governance of the bank. How that is materially different than taking 51% ownership remains to be seen. 
  • NPR’s Marketplace reported on a new program being developed in Washington, D.C. is that will require individuals in homeless shelters to set aside part of any income into savings accounts.
  • David Bauer created a beautiful visualization of the evolution of worldwide remittances since 1970.
  • In an interview with GSMA, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, discusses the impact and challenges to the growing mobile money sector in his homeland.
  • Less than 1% of participants in the Juntos transfer program in Peru knew what a bank statement, a voucher, or an interest rate was, points out Carolina Trivelli on the CGAP blog. Her post focuses on the symbiotic relationship between social inclusion and financial inclusion.
  • According to the Pew Research Center, 51% of US adults bank online and 32% bank using their mobile phones. Click here for the full report on the changes in US banking habits and technology.
  • A new paper provides insights into the post-midlife spending “hump” while CFI provides a deeper dive into life cycles and financial needs.
  • The talk of “Big Data” seems to be everywhere these days – including the UN. This profile on the Global Pulse department highlights the impact of data on development.
  • MoneyGram announced that PayPal customers can now withdraw or deposit money from their PayPal accounts at physical MoneyGram locations. With the link-up, users in the United States will have the ability to shop online, send gifts and receive physical cash without a bank account. 
  • Another new service for the unbanked in the news is Puddle, an app that allows users to extend small loans and informal “banking” services to those in their social network.
  • ProPublica released two new articles on payday lending in the U.S. in its Debt Inc. series.  One talks about regulation and the fight for lenders to stay legal while the other focuses on Washington’s attempt to restrict lenders.

Return to the Weekly faiV