Financial Inclusion in Mexico
When the World Economic Forum convenes its sessions on financial inclusion in Mexico this month, its host will be able to boast about some very good news. The Global Findex, a survey
measuring financial inclusion across the world, reveals that Mexico progressed substantially in the past three years, including growth in the top-line indicator: adults with accounts. According to newly released data, the percentage of the Mexican population with an account rose from 27.4 in 2011 to 39.1 percent in 2014, a 44 percent increase in three years.
Even more impressive is the growth among traditionally excluded groups. The percentage of women with accounts grew by 77 percent, nearly closing the gender gap. And participation by the lowest 40 percent of the population and people in rural areas more than doubled (142 and 163 percent growth, respectively).
On nearly every dimension, Mexicans reported more financial activity – use of ATMs and debit cards, electronic receipt of wages and benefits, savings (formal and informal) and borrowing. Especially striking is the number of Mexicans who report saving. Over half the population is saving in some form, up from only a quarter in 2011.
Nevertheless, Mexico still lags many of its peers in the region – behind Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama. In Latin America as a whole, over half of all adults have an account, well above Mexico’s 39 percent.
Recognizing that they have a long way to go, Mexico’s banking regulators have been leaders in the global financial inclusion movement. In fact, the process by which member countries of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion publish national commitments to financial inclusion – the Maya Declaration – was born in Mexico. And Mexico has already achieved one of its Maya commitments – a banking outlet in every municipality. In fact, Mexico earned fifth place among the 55 countries in the EIU’s Global Microscope ranking of the environment for financial inclusion. Mexico began working on financial inclusion from a low base. Since then, it’s been doing a lot of things right, and the results are starting to show.
Elisabeth Rhyne, Managing Director,
Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion