Accion Releases Report on Financial BehaviorOf Rural Residents in Latin AmericaResearch Identifies Challenges, Opportunities for Financial Inclusion in Rural Latin America; Proposed Strategies Potentially Applicable To Microfinance Industry Worldwide
Boston, MA, April 26, 2012 – Accion, a pioneer and leader in microfinance, today released a report providing the financial industry with important recommendations for creating and improving services to rural residents in Latin America.
The study – based on market research conducted in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Peru – provides a detailed portrait of access, use and attitudes towards financial services by rural residents, both farmers and microentrepreneurs. The study offers a unique opportunity to understand the financial choices rural residents make and the attitudes they bring when they interact with banks and microfinance institutions.
Among the study’s findings:
“The results from this study will prove a valuable tool in designing and marketing appropriate financial products that meet the specific needs of rural residents,” said Elisabeth Rhyne, managing director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. “The findings can assist in the creation or improvement of products such as new savings models, debit cards, cashless payments or insurance products.”
“Ultimately,” Rhyne added, “the lessons gleaned from this research will help any microfinance institution wishing to better serve the hardworking farmers and microentrepreneurs in rural Latin America. We believe they also hold insights that are relevant to other rural clients worldwide.”
The research was supported by the Inter-American Development Bank and based on survey interviews with people living in rural areas within reach of selected microfinance institution branches. It targeted heads of households who work in an independent activity, specifically entrepreneurs and small farmers. The study describes the rural population according to socioeconomic and psychographic variables, social interactions and financial behavior, considering credit, savings, investment and risk management. Financial education and awareness and use of formal financial services are discussed.
The report, “The Financial Behavior of Rural Residents,” is available here and at http://www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org.
About AccionAccion is a global nonprofit dedicated to building a financially inclusive world with access to economic opportunity for all, by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. A world pioneer in microfinance, over the last 50 years we have helped build 62 microfinance institutions in 31 countries on four continents. Those institutions are currently reaching millions of clients. The Accion U.S. Network is the largest microfinance network in the country and, since inception, has served hundreds of thousands of clients with loans and support. For further information, visit www.accion.org.
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