SIGN OF THE TIMES
Counting the world’s unbanked
McKinsey Quarterly | MARCH 2010
• Alberto Chaia, Tony Goland, and Robert Schiff
Fully 2.5 billion of the world’s adults don’t use banks or microfinance institutions to save or borrow money, but unserved doesn’t mean unservable.
• Fully 2.5 billion of the world’s adults don’t use formal banks or semiformal microfinance institutions to save or borrow money.
• Nearly 2.2 billion of these unserved adults live in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
• Unserved, however, does not mean unservable.
• The microfinance movement, for example, has long helped expand credit use among the world’s poor—reaching more than 150 million clients in 2008 alone.
• Approximately 1.2 billion adults in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East who use formal or semiformal credit or savings products, about 800 million live on less than $5 a day.
• Large unserved populations represent opportunities for institutions that are able to offer an innovative range of high-quality, affordable financial products and services.
• With the right financial education and support to make good choices, lower-income consumers will benefit from credit, savings, insurance, and payments products that help them invest in economic opportunities, better manage their money, reduce risks, and plan for the future.