New maps show access to financial services in rural Bolivia, Guatemala, and Peru

MIX y Fondo Multilateral de Inversiones (MIF)|Mar, 2013

Date: March, 2013

In partnership with the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, MIX has launched 3 new Maps of Financial Inclusion – Peru, Guatemala, and Bolivia – to allow users to view the extent of financial services outreach in rural areas. With these maps, local policymakers and practitioners can begin identifying trends in what types of financial institutions are available in each market and better understand the scope of financial support to rural households and their livelihoods.

These interactive tools are the first of their kind for Peru, Guatemala and Bolivia. With these maps, users can see the evolution of the reach of rural and urban financial services in each market. What makes these maps truly innovative is the ability to visualize rural areas in developing markets utilizing a globally replicable methodology. Rather than relying on national statistics offices and definitions based on population density that vary from country to country, the Maps of Financial Inclusion go deeper to look at a richer set of determinants, such as land usage and signs of access to infrastructure (e.g., electricity), to determine which areas are rural in a manner that can be repeated across markets for easier comparison.

The maps help highlight several unique characteristics of rural finance in each market. While none of the countries has a majority rural focus to financial services outreach, Bolivia has more than a third of its financial institution branches in areas that are more than 75% rural, with savings and loan institutions (Mutuales de Ahorro y Prestamo) predominantly located in these zones. In Peru, rural cooperatives (Cajas rurales) dominate the rural financial services offering, and have concentrated most of their 30% growth in credit portfolio in rural areas, with these zones growing at twice the rate (60%)of the national footprint. NGOs, while leading the rural outreach in Guatemala, actually decreased rural outreach over the period 2010-2011.
“Poor and low-income populations in rural areas are especially affected by limited or no access to credit, savings and other financial services. These maps will help financial providers better evaluate and target potential new areas of expansion”, said Tomas Miller, Chief of the Access to Finance Unit.

“Each map that MIX has released over the last year has allowed our community to explore an additional aspect of financial inclusion,” said Marten Leijon, CEO of MIX. “Thanks to support from MIF, the sector has new tools to quantify the outreach of financial services in rural markets and track how that landscape is changing. We are excited to apply this methodology to other markets where remote and rural areas lack access to financial services to support donors, policy makers and other actors in their work of financial inclusion.”