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Bancarization is growing in Latin America, according to the World Bank

By 2021, 76% of adults worldwide had an account with a bank, other financial institution or through a mobile money provider.

AG AFP

In Latin America and the Caribbean, 73% of adults at financial institutions of some kind had accounts in 2021, an increase of 18 percentage points since 2017, the largest among developing regions of the world, the World Bank said Wednesday.

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According to the Global Findex 2021 database, launched with funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and published every three years since 2011 by the World Bank, financial inclusion is increasing worldwide and the covid-19 pandemic has only intensified .

“The digital revolution has catalyzed increases in access to and use of financial services worldwide, changing the ways people make and receive payments, take out loans and save,” said David Malpass, President of the Bank Global, in a statement.

By 2021, 76% of adults worldwide had an account in a bank, other financial institution, or through a mobile money provider, up from 68% in 2017 and 51% in 2011.

In addition, for the first time since the launch of this database, a decrease in gender variations in account ownership was noted, which contributed to the empowerment of women.

In the case of Latin America, the largest increases in account ownership were recorded in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Peru.

And while women in the region are still less likely to account for 7 percentage points than men, the gender gap has also narrowed compared to 2017.

The World Bank has emphasized the “key role” of digital payments worldwide. In the region, 40% of adults made digital payments to retailers, including 14% of adults who made such transactions for the first time during the pandemic, he said.

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On the other hand, 24% of adults received a public sector salary, government transfer, or public sector pension payment in an account.

The health emergency covid-19 spurred digital payment of public services: 15% of adults in the region paid a utility bill directly from their account for the first time during the pandemic, more than double the average of developing economies, by according to. the World Bank.

The percentage of adults saving in an account also increased, from 12% to 19% of adults in 2017.

But there is room to further expand account usage in the region: 81 million bank adults made utility payments in cash alone, including 32 million in Brazil and 5 million in Peru, according to the study.

The list of countries surveyed in 2021 includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.


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