The Value of Measuring Financial Inclusion


On the importance of measuring financial inclusion.

The latest Global Findex report informs us that 515 million individuals opened a “bank account” at a traditional financial institution or through a mobile money provider between 2014 and 2017. As a result, 69% of adults worldwide now have bank accounts, up from 62% in 2014 and 51% in 2011. This rise in financial inclusion is welcome news, not least because, in the event of a downward income shock, a household’s consumption will fall much less if it is linked to the formal financial sector.

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Kaushik Basu — Project Syndicate

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What’s Behind One of the Biggest Financial Scams in History


Story of a massive scandal. And how the biggies got away, again..

Knowledge@Wharton: Nobody has been doing any jail time because of this. That’s a disturbing pattern on a lot of fronts, because we’ve seen a similar result here in the U.S. after the financial crisis, and many of the other banking-related scandals that have occurred.

Enrich: You know what’s interesting? As part of the publicity for this book, I’ve done a tremendous amount of radio. And radio, as you know, can be very deeply polarized on both the right and the left in this country. So just as preparation for a lot of these interviews, I did some quick research: Is this a Trump radio station or Clinton or Bernie Sanders radio station? And I was expecting different slanted questions. You know what? Everyone’s asked the exact same thing, which is, ‘Why do the financial elites keep getting away with murder?’ It seems to be this really unifying theme across the country right now. It just makes people’s blood boil. There was so much public pressure on politicians and prosecutors after the crisis to find some individuals to hold to account for the massive harm that the banking industry caused to the country and to the economy, really to the world.

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How Banking-as-a-Platform Propels Cross River Bank


Banking industry is ripe for disruption. The interesting thing is that Banking comprises of a host of different services and each of these service lines can potentially have its own Uber or Airbnb.

Nair: You’ve been in this space for some time. What do you think are the most exciting trends in fintech?

Gade: Financial inclusion is probably the most exciting trend for me. … We are providing access to credit to more than 2.2 million people on an annual basis. This is a source of satisfaction that is very unique. … We are the settlement bank for a number of fintech players, and we execute anywhere between 3 million to 5 million transactions a week. That’s also a very big source of satisfaction. These numbers are important not because they’re associated with dollars and earnings, but more because we are providing people the ability to transfer money to their families, to their friends, on an international basis or even domestically.

The complete interview


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Blockchain, the Bard and Building More Inclusion for Banking


The world moves in cycles. Some new technology comes, rapid growth, negative repercussions, rules & regulations, stifling of business, and then something new comes up..

Our best bet to drive inclusion and catalyze necessary change is fintech and reg-tech innovation. We now see huge leaps in financial sector disruptors creating and transacting in “assets” and “stores of value” (e.g. cryptocurrencies), and furnishing technologies that drive transparency, and security and privacy –- the basic building blocks of secure financial intermediation.

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Steven Hopkins, Amit Sharma, John A. Squires & David N. Lawrence — Knowledge@Wharton 

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Bitcoin: The Most Impressive Speculative Bubble In Modern History


Do you believe in Bitcoin’s future as the currency of choice?

The same technology that makes bitcoin secure as a means of exchange also makes it hideously inefficient compared to other payment technologies. But the more serious objection to bitcoin is that it enables criminals and terrorist organizations to move value around the world out of sight of national governments and law enforcement. Some nations that have already banned bitcoin include China, India, Sweden and Vietnam. So far none of the Anglo nations have been willing to prohibit this overt act of criminality – at least not yet.

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Christopher Whalen — The American Conservative

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The evolution of the Federal Reserve’s promises as recorded on their banknotes


Promises made on banknotes have changed over time. Interesting blog looking at these changes.

Most members of the public don’t know how the underlying monetary systems work, but they do see what is printed on its banknotes. To the public, the morphing set of promises on the face of a Federal Reserve note would have been one of the more visible manifestations of a shift from a mish mash of paper currencies issued by two different institutions and pegged to gold… to one single legal tender currency issued by the U.S.’s now-dominant monetary institution, the Fed—the Treasury receding into the background.

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JP Koning — Moneyness

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Wall Street’s Best-Kept Secret Is a 72-Year-Old Russian Chess Expert


In contrast with chess’s deliberative reputation, Alburt says the game helps traders think on their feet. “Strong chess players are good at making quick, usually correct decisions,” he says. “Traders are basically doing the same things as chess ­grandmasters: You have to make quick decisions in by definition uncertain circumstances.” Other chess attributes that help those high up on the ladder, he says, are its emphasis on logic and “making people responsible for their decisions.” Or as Icahn puts it: “If he’s a good chess player, he has a good math mind. So if he’s a good player, he’s not an idiot.” Hirsch of Seneca Capital agrees. “There’s a great satisfaction in ­envisioning how something is going to play out and be right,” he says. While playing chess, Hirsch adds, he credits Alburt “with any good moves I make.” The blunders, he notes, “are all mine.”

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James Tarmy — Bloomberg

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