November 11, 2015

Banks have a $380 Billion market opportunity in Financial Inclusion, Accenture and CARE International UK Study Find

Report makes recommendations for how banks can make financial inclusion more viable

LONDON; Nov. 11, 2015 – Banks can address an additional US$380 billion market in annual revenues by targeting micro-enterprises and bringing unbanked and underbanked adults into the formal financial system, according to a new report produced jointly by Accenture (NYSE: ACN), through Accenture Development Partnerships, and CARE International UK, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty.

The report “Within Reach” outlines how to make financial inclusion a viable business strategy. It notes that closing the small-business credit gap at average lending spreads and adding fee-based services could generate about $270 billion in additional revenue for banks, while including unbanked adults into the formal financial system could generate another $110 billion, according to Accenture research*.

Until now, supporting financial inclusion has not been viewed as a viable business plan for banks. Seventy-seven percent of the 30 banks surveyed for the report were focused on short-term profit-driven commercial opportunities in a piecemeal manner, or were driven by philanthropic ambitions, the corporate social responsibility agenda or regulatory pressures. Only 23 percent of banks surveyed had financial inclusion as part of a coherent corporate strategy leading to long-term, sustainable investment plans to develop inclusive business models.

“The traditional view has been that banking the unbanked and underbanked tended to be low-end, unprofitable and philanthropic,” said Simon Whitehouse, a senior managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services Operating Group. “But new business models, enabled by digital technologies, are helping banks write a new rulebook for what is possible.”

For example, Janalakshmi Financial Services increased its delivery of microloans to India’s unbanked consumers with help from Accenture in customer onboarding and process operations, doubling the number of loans it disbursed in 17 months. Other banks are leveraging mobile phones in new ways to reach customers; the Zambia National Commercial Bank now serves more than 200,000 customers through a mobile banking service that targeted the unbanked market. And new entrants into financial services are using analytics to improve loan assessments. China’s Alibaba, for example, uses customers’ commercial transactions on its Taobao ecommerce platform to establish credit records and conduct small- and medium-sized enterprise lending.

To make financial inclusion viable, the report advises banks could:

Report co-author Senior Policy Advisor at CARE International UK, Gerry Boyle said: “It may not seem like an obvious poverty fighting tool but providing access to basic formal bank accounts has been proven to have a transformative effect for those living in poverty, especially women. Decades of working in this area has proven that even the poorest, those living on less than $2 can save and make for viable customers.”

“It is clear that many banks recognize the opportunity of greater financial inclusion, but are struggling to make progress,” Louise James of Accenture Development Partnerships added. “This is where cross sector collaboration can play a critical role – by bringing together a range of relevant parties who can help financial institutions build their understanding of the customer needs. These partnerships, while helping banks realize commercial benefits, also ensure that new customers are integrated in a way that underpins wider social development and long term involvement in local commerce.”

Find the full “Within Reach” report at

* Accenture’s “Billion Reasons to Bank Inclusively” report.

About Accenture
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With more than 358,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at

About Accenture Development Partnerships
Accenture Development Partnerships employs an innovative business model to provide organizations working in international development with access to world class business and technology consulting, delivering innovative solutions that change the way people work and live. In particular, ADP helps create and facilitate strategic cross sector partnerships to tackle issues with a clear development and business imperative; harnessing the capabilities of diverse partners to drive social and commercial impact.

About CARE
Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 87 countries and reached more than 97 million people around the world.

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Francois Luu
+ 33 660 538 428

Petra Shuttlewood
+ 44 7788 305373

Kathryn Chapman
CARE International UK
+ 44 207 091 6047