Financial Inclusion in Latin America: A Survey of Financial Institutions

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24 September 2018

Financial institutions are exploring inclusion initiatives to compete with a growing number of fintech competitors.

Key research questions

  • What is the state of financial inclusion in Latin America?
  • What is the biggest barrier to reaching the unbanked?
  • Are institutions looking to increase investment into financial inclusion?


Historically, financial inclusion has been difficult to achieve because neither the consumers nor the institutions have made an effort to increase utilization. Traditional banks largely ignored unbanked or underbanked consumers because they tend to be lower income and therefore unprofitable given the costs of existing delivery models. Consumers without traditional banking relationships have found the costs of financial services to be too high, instead relying on alternative methods of financing or sticking to cash transactions. The growth of digital services lowers costs to serve for a traditionally low-revenue demographic.

This report highlights the results of a Celent survey, launched in August 2018 in partnership with Fintech Americas, of more than 113 respondents, all from financial institutions in Latin America. They represent a wide range of asset sizes, roles, and countries.