The Poor and their Money: what have we learned?

Ana Marr
March 1999
Overview

Money markets ought to allocate finance where it is most needed, and thus contribute to greater productivity, employment and the reduction of poverty. Yet in practice they have not performed this
function at all well. Vast segments of the population are still unserved, inappropriate financial services are offered and inflexible contracts are extended. Poor farmers and small businesses are generally excluded from conventional financial institutions like the big commercial banks, and have to resort to
informal ways of saving, insuring and borrowing, such as paying shopkeepers to keep their savings safely, or borrowing from moneylenders at very high interest rates. What then are the obstacles to better access by the poor to finance in these markets and how can governments and aid agencies intervene to improve matters?

Language: 
English