By Marie-Odile Pilley
The essential role of posts in financial inclusion remains a well-kept secret. Did you know that China Post Savings Bank on its own holds 30% of the accounts in China ? With deposits amounting to €2.700bn, the Japanese Post Bank remains the largest financial institution in the world. Japan Post Insurance manages in addition life assurance assets worth €2,000bn.
In the last ten years, BRIC posts have contributed in a major way to the rise in financial inclusion. In Brazil, through the Correios-Bradesco strategic alliance, ten million accounts have been opened … 10 million mainly to the previously un-banked population.
Developing countries have developed innovative financial services approaches with a view to inclusion. Among the best known examples, Bangladesh with its solidarity-based microfinance system and Kenya with its mobile payment system, M-Pesa. Posts in developing countries are well placed to increase inclusion through their outreach and their trust capital with the un-banked. The challenges they face are to understand the users’ needs and the informal mechanisms in place to meet formally those needs with affordable solutions making use of the appropriate technology.
Key to their success: mastery of cash flow management and cash logistics, appropriate regulation, alliance management and gradual capacity building. There is no room one-fits-all solution. If you want to know more, please read the articles attached in Cahiers de l’ARCEP, January – March 2011. Read it in original version (French language). Or download its translation into English language.
For a broader overview of the transformation of the postal industry, also read the latest issue of “Les Cahiers de l’ARCEP” (en français, in French language).