Increasing financial access for traditionally underserved population, including women, poor households, vulnerable groups, and micro, small, and medium enterprises is critical to achieving inclusive and balanced economic growth.
ADB has been actively promoting innovation and best practices in this area. In its Strategy 2020, ADB says it will seek to create an enabling environment for financial inclusion, encompassing rural finance institutions and micro, small, and medium enterprises and explore new technologies to expand access to financial services. Further, the Financial Sector Operational Plan details the work ADB will do in the sector, recognizing that financial services should go beyond micro loans to include savings, payments and remittances, insurance, and pensions.
ADB’s support for inclusive finance is provided through loans, credit lines, investments, grants, guarantees, and technical assistance in the following areas (as defined in the 2014 Project Classification System):
- credit cooperatives and credit unions
- agriculture finance and rural microenterprise
- branchless/mobile banking
- financial literacy and consumer protection
- remittance management
- savings mobilization
- rural banks
ADB’s Microfinance Development Strategy ensures access to institutional financial services for a majority of poor and low-income households and their microenterprises. It aims to support the development of sustainable microfinance systems that can provide diverse, high-quality services.
To achieve its objective for microfinance, ADB focuses on:
- creating a microfinance-friendly policy environment
- developing financial infrastructure
- building viable retail institutions
- supporting pro-poor innovations
- supporting social intermediation