Accelerating Financial Inclusion with New Data

New types of data and new data tools present an unprecedented opportunity for financial service providers to better understand and serve clients, especially credit-seeking “thin-file” clients who are otherwise excluded from the formal financial sector.


The traditional boundaries separating players in adjacent industries are blurring, and the future market for financial services is up for grabs.

There are many internal and external challenges that providers must address for the promise of new data to be fully realized. From getting the right culture and technical talent in place to engaging with regulators and partners on data sharing and management, there are numerous obstacles to negotiate in capitalizing on the explosion of new data to reach underserved and unserved markets with new commercially viable solutions.

This report is intended to help mainstream financial institutions accelerate their efforts to confront these challenges and future-proof themselves for what the data revolution has in store, but may be useful to other financial service providers as well. However, this report is not an attempt to provide a “how-to” guide for navigating the various stages of the data value chain—there are too many contingencies to prescribe a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Instead, it is an effort to shed light on the potential of data to improve financial services for the underserved.

While underserved markets may not be as lucrative as more developed markets today, they represent a great opportunity for mainstream financial institutions—they are unsaturated and likely to represent a much larger share of growth in the years ahead.
Islam Zekry, Chief Data Officer, Commercial International Bank (Egypt) S.A.E.


This report is part of a two-year initiative, Mainstreaming Financial Inclusion: Best Practices, to help advance efforts of financial institutions to reach customers at the base of the economic pyramid. This report was completed in partnership with the Institute of International Finance, and made possible with generous financial support from MetLife Foundation.

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