Leora Klapper

Leora Klapper

Lead Economist, Finance and Private Sector Research, The World Bank, The World Bank

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On Thursday September 6th at 11am EST Leora Klapper will be answering your questions about the Global Findex Database. Join the conversation!

Recognizing the need for better data to support the financial inclusion agenda, the World Bank’s Development Research Group constructed the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) Database. Covering a range of topics, the database can be used to develop a deeper and more nuanced understanding of how people around the world save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk.

Want to know why 75% of the population are unbanked? Ask Leora Klapper on this one-hour live conversation. Not able to join? Leave your questions on our conversation board from September 3rd.

Leora Klapper is a Lead Economist in the Finance and Private Sector Research Team of the Development Research Group at the World Bank. Since joining the Bank as a Young Economist in 1998, she has published on entrepreneurship, access to finance, corporate governance, bankruptcy, and risk management. Her current research focuses on entrepreneurial and household finance, and measurements of financial inclusion. She is a member of the G-20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion Data and Measurement sub-group and founder of the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) database. She holds a Ph.D. in Financial Economics from New York University Stern School of Business.


  1. 462 days ago

    Lidia Siegel

    This is very informative. Thanks for sharing. Can you also check this, car insurance quotes Thanks.

  2. 466 days ago

    Dennis Scott

    Thanks for sharing this information, interesting topics for a conversation. Go for short run dvd duplication today. Thanks.

  3. 837 days ago

    Natalie Zuniga

    Thanks everybody again for your participation. Amazing conversation!

    And special thanks to Leora Klapper for sharing her insights and knowledge with our audience! It was a great pleasure to have you Leora!

    If you haven’t already, you can enter the G2012 Mexico Financial Inclusion competition here: http://www.changemakers.com/financialinclusion

    Thanks everybody!

  4. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Vero, let me end with your question– Our analysis of the Global Findex data shows that account penetration is higher in countries with higher national income as measured by GDP per capita. But quite interestingly–national income explains much less of the variation in account penetration for low- and lower-middle-income economies (see Figure 1.2 in Demirguc-Kunt and Klappe, 2012, available on our website). Indeed, at a given income level and financial depth, use of financial services varies significantly across economies–suggesting a potentially important role for policies, as well as new products, processes, and technology.

    So I leave this challange to you! To dream new ways of delivering safe, convienient and cost effective financial services to the unbanked.

    Thanks for your questions!

    • Vero Esc

      Thank you Leora!

      837 days ago

  5. 837 days ago

    Natalie Zuniga

    Thanks everybody for participating in this fascinating conversation with Leora Klapper, Lead Economist from the World Bank

    • Victoria Emanuelli

      Thank you Leora for your time and sharing your knowledge and experience with our community! Thanks to all the participants for these interesting questions! This was a great experience!

      837 days ago

  6. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Michelle, unfortunately we don’t have this detail of data.
    Interestingly, we do see a higher rate of formal credit among women in Bangladesh. I’d be glad to provide speciric examples.

  7. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Thanks Cynthia for raising an important point.
    Although mobile banking has exploded in East Africa, less than 5% of aduls on average across developing countries report using mobile phone payments. This highlights the impact of the banking and telecom regulations on the mobile payment markets. It will be interestingto see if/how bank-led models develop in other regions.

  8. 837 days ago

    Michelle Fidelholc

    Hi Leora. I’m Michelle from Changemakers Brazil. It’s great to have you here!
    I have a question? There’s a lot of criticism on microfinance, and from what I saw, those are usually connected to the microfinance programs that provide financial services to the BoP, but without much orientation. Does your research comprise this sort of information? Distinctions between oriented and non-oriented services?

  9. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    I often get asked, ““What’s next? How can the data make a difference?”

    The data be used to help close the gap in financial inclusion between the rich and poor, men and women, city and rural residents. By offering a more nuanced understanding of not only WHO has an account, but HOW accounts are used, we hope the data will fill a major gap in the policy dialogue.

    Our data gives texture to the conversation by identifying barriers to using an account. Some barriers will take time—for instance, women are more likely than men to report they don’t have an account because they use someone else’s, which might reflect social norms that prevent women from having their own accounts…but others–such as the cost, distance, and documentation required to open an account—might be relaxed through policy reforms and private sector initiatives

  10. 837 days ago

    Vero Esc

    Hi Leora, another question from Mexico:
    Where you able to identify trends that can show how would the field look like in the next years? Are there new players in the ecosystem that are promoting financial inclusion?

  11. 837 days ago

    Cynthia McKinney

    Hi Leora, and thank you for joining this important conversation. It seems a lot of innovation around financial inclusion is coming out of Africa, particularly East Africa – is this a trend you are seeing also, and if so, what are some of the reasons?

  12. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Someone asked about market opportunities… something I found noteworthy in the data is the widespread use of community-based informal or semi-formal savings arrangements in Sub-Saharan Africa. In that region, 48% of savers report using a community-based savings club or person outside the family to save, compared to 35% of savers who use a formal financial institution.
    Of course the widespread use of community-savings clubs speaks to their popularity, but a downside is the risk of fraud and theft. The high use of these semi-formal products – where users commit to regular savings –might suggest a missed opportunity to provide safe, affordable financial products to adults without formal accounts.

  13. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Victoria (and all other readers!)– the country-level data for all variables, disaggregated by gender, age, education, income, and rural/uban residents is available on our website:


  14. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Camillo, It is exciting to see a number of players—like the G-20, and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), and my colleagues at the World Bank— providing support to countries seeking to expand financial inclusion. As mentioned in the last posting– Our questionnaire is available on our website in 15 languages (www.worldbank.org/globalfindex) and we encourage local policymakers to add these questions to country-owned efforts to collect data on financial inclusion.
    In the meantime, our data is available to help lcoal policymakers identify segments of the population excluded from the formal financial sector, prioritize reforms and, as future rounds of the data set become available, track the success of those reforms.

  15. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Marzena, my colleagues and I have had the pleasure to spend time in the field in Africa, Latin America, and ECA. Interestingly, in some countries interviewer training included taking buses to visit an actual bank, since may interviewers had not actually ever visited one! It’s quite important when undertaking this type of survey to make sure the interviewers understand the questions that they are asking.
    Our survey was first piloted in over 30 countries and included local examples of financial instituitions.Importantly, the survey was translated in 142 languages to ensure accuracy in 148 countries! Translations of the survey in a dozen languages is available on our website (other languages available upon request!) and we encorage countries to use these questions in local surveys to encourage compatibility of questions across countries and over time.

    • Marzena Zukowska

      That is really fascinating Leora! I was hoping you would share some insights from the field, especially since, looking at the data, we only get to see the finished product. Have your experiences in all three regions (Latin America, Africa, ECA) been different or have there been some similarities across the board?

      837 days ago

  16. 837 days ago

    Camilo Tellez

    Leora. Findex has made a good effort to bring together different actors on the survey demand-side such as Gallup, etc. For organizations such as GSMA, CGAP and AFI who are currently pursuing efforts to collect data on the supply side, which advice would you give them so they can work better together when collecting and publishing data?

    • Camilo Tellez

      This is predominantly in the area of mobile financial services and financial inclusion

      837 days ago

  17. 837 days ago

    Victoria Emanuelli

    Hi Leora,I´m Victoria from Changemakers Latin America. Thanks for sharing so many interesting and usefull information an insights. I have another question:
    How could the Global Findex support start-ups that are innovating to advance financial inclusion? What findings are more relevant for them?

  18. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Alvaro, thanks for your question.
    I will double-check, but I don’t think we have any cases of someone reporting having a credit card, but not a bank account.

  19. 837 days ago

    Marzena Zukowska

    (Changemakers) This has been a great conversation thus far! Here is my question:

    What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced in collecting data on the communities and populations you wish to empower? How is this connected to the financial inclusion of some of these groups?

  20. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Victoria–I will post a response in the comments later today. To make the definitions comparable across countries, ‘rural’ may include some larger cities in some countries. I would be glad to provide you with a finer splice of the data (by population size).

    We investigated this in other countries, and found in some cases evidence of rural post-office branches, rural savings cooperatives, or other financial institutions that targeted rural areas have indeed managed to increase inclusion in non-urban areas. In addition, in some Latin American countries government payments via-banks (for example, for conditional cash transfer programs) has disproportionally increase rural account holders

    • Victoria Pietroboni

      Thanks Leora, it would be great if you could provide me that information, and particulary if we could have it sepparately by gender. I va recently made and study on the level of financial inclusion of women linving in rural areas and there is very few information of it. My e mail is vpietroboni@planetfinance.org Thanks!

      837 days ago

  21. 837 days ago

    Natalie Zuniga

    Álvaro Martín Enríquez from Analistas Financieros Internacionales, also asks: Should we consider “retail stores credit cards” – not associated to a savings account – as a means for financial inclusion? And where would you insert PENSIONS (under savings (long-term) or insurance (for retirement))?

  22. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Eugene, I’m glad you had the chance to meet my colleagues in the field.

    The kind of non-financial support such as mentoring, market linkages, links with investment funding, and training, that InfoDev makes available to entrepreneurs are indeed critical. Financial services from financial institutions are essential for enterprises, including payments, deposit, and credit services, but nonfinancial services support the viability and creditworthiness of an enterprise, and growth or start-up capital typically comes from investors rather than from banks.

    There is strong complementarity between InfoDev’s role and the support that the World Bank provides at country level to improving the policy and regulatory environment for access to finance, and to catalyzing increased provision of financial services to existing and potential entrepreneurs. InfoDev, CGAP – which provides leading edge knowledge on financial inclusion – and the Financial Inclusion Global Practice are all linked to the Financial and Private Sector Development network of the World Bank, and there is close cooperation between them.

  23. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Dani, as mentioned earlier, we ask the unbanked to identify barriers to fomal account ownership (multiple answers are permitted), 25% of adults in emerging markets report cost. In Latin America, for example, the unbanked are most likely to cite the cost of opening and maintaining an account– 40 percent (!) report cost as a barrier.

    Again, I think these barriers suggest that a key to reducing the gap in financial inclusion is new products and technology, such as mobile banking, that can provide affordable and accessible banking services, particularly to the rural poor.

  24. 837 days ago

    Victoria Pietroboni

    (PlaNet Finance Argentina) Here my question again! Leora, I´ve seen some indicators for Argentina and I´m surprised to see that the percentage of having a formal account is about 30% in urban areas and 45% in rural areas. Which is the reason you find for this when the financial offer is much higher in urban areas?

  25. 837 days ago

    Dani Matielo

    Hello, Leora, thank you for joining this conversation. I would like to ask what is the impact in terms of financial inclusion of the very high interest rates charged by banks, and what are the best solutions for this challenge so far?

  26. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    This is an important question — World Bank specialists work with over 60 countries on financial inclusion, providing advice, sharing data and knowledge, setting up financing and risk guarantees, and offering technical assistance. The World Bank’s Financial Inclusion Global Practice (www.worldbank.org/financialinclusion) includes over 170 financial sector specialists globally who support governments, regulators, and financial institutions in increasing the beneficial use of financial services.

    • Natalie Zuniga

      Great Leora, Eugene Aroka from Kenya was who asked that question. He also would like to know: I have had the chance of meeting Valerie De la Costa of infoDev and I was impressed with what the World Bank is doing to support technology start-ups like mine, but since my start-up is inclined towards ensuring financial inclusion, my question is if different arms of the World Bank collaborate with each other towards development?

      837 days ago

  27. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    We receved a question by email yesterday:
    “The World Bank is a major world partner for development, how does it collaborate with authorities in developing countries to promote financial inclusion?”

  28. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    All–sorry if I’m missing some questions. Please check back later and I’ll add responses and links under “comments”.

  29. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Thanks Vero for your question.

    Short answer–absolutely!! We ask the unbanked in our sample WHY they don’t have an account. In Tanzania, for example, our data show that 48% of the unbanked report that banks are too far away and 46% report it’s too expensive. These are potentially barriers that new products, process, and technology-like banking agents and mobile technology–can address.

  30. 837 days ago

    Vero Esc

    Hi Leora, thank you for this opportunity. This is Veronica from Mexico, my question is:
    Do you think technology will change the way we have traditionally seen access to finance?

  31. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Technical detail– our survey asks, “In the past 12 months, have you used a mobile phone to….? ” (i) pay bills, (ii) send money, (iii) receive money.
    The complete questionnaire–and data!!– is available on our website: http://www.worldbank.org/globalfindex

    • Camilo Tellez

      Thank Leora.

      837 days ago

  32. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    In follow-up focus groups in Sudan, for example, people reported that the guy (or woman) in the village with the cell-phone is the new “banker”, whom people send mobile payments to cash out and (for a small comission) provide cash to family members.
    This suggests an untapped demand for faster, cheaper ways to make payments.

  33. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Camilo, Thanks for joining.

    This was indeed one of the surprises in the data.. foe example, 52% of adults in Southern Sudan report using a cell-phone to send or receive money –although there is currently no mobile money operator in the country! I think we need to better understand how people are using this new technology, e.g. sending minutes, money stored on the phone, or linked to a bank, in order to grasp the new market opportunities.

  34. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    … A challange of supply-side data is that it includes dormant and multiple accounts. The Findex asks for the numbr of typical deposits and withdrawals in a typical month, so we can calcuate ‘active’ accounts (although we can’t rule out that money isn’t parked for saving in an account without typical activity).

  35. 837 days ago

    Victoria Pietroboni

    (PlaNet Finance Argentina) Hi Leora! Thank you for this conversation. I´ve seen some indicators for Argentina and I´m surprised to see that the percentage of having a formal account is about 30% in urban areas and 45% in rural areas. Which is the reason you find for this when the financial offer is much higher in urban areas?

  36. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Álvaro, thank you for pointing out an important difference between “supply-side” indicators (from the perspective of providers of financial services) and “demand-side” indicators (from the perspective of user)

  37. 837 days ago

    Martha Mcmanamy

    How does one join the live conversation? I would like to hear more about this work!

    • Natalie Zuniga

      HI Martha, just post your questions on the board. We have Leora Klapper answering them now.

      837 days ago

  38. 837 days ago

    Camilo Tellez

    Hi Leora, This is Camilo Tellez from CGAP. Could you elaborate a bit more regarding the way that the numbers for use of mobile money were calculated. For example, Gabon shows half or more of adults use mobile money?

    • Natalie Zuniga

      Thanks Camilo for joining!

      837 days ago

  39. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Veronica, to answer your first question on indicators of ‘access’ versus ‘use’ — at their Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, on June 18, Leaders of the G20 endorsed a Basic Set of Financial Inclusion Indicators. The main indicator for “access” is bank branch penetration, while the key indicators for “usage” is % of adults with a bank account and formal credit, and % of SME’s with a formal account or line of credit. See: www. gpfi.org

  40. 837 days ago

    Natalie Zuniga

    Álvaro Martín Enríquez from Analistas Financieros Internacionales also asks: There are important issues regarding dormant accounts and multiple account holders at the time of correctly interpreting certain financial inclusion indicators. How would you suggest that authorities (responsible for the measurement of supply-side data) ASK the industry about savings accounts, to avoid these issues?

  41. 837 days ago

    Marzena Zukowska

    Hello Leora, I’m on of the Community Mobilizers from Changemakers. Here is my question:

    The World Bank has one of the best databases of statistics about global trends that I have encountered in my years as both a student and researcher. With that said, what are some of the greatest challenges you have faced in collecting data on the communities and populations you wish to empower? How, if at all, is this connected to financial inclusion?

  42. 837 days ago

    Natalie Zuniga

    Álvaro Martín Enríquez from Analistas Financieros Internacionales asks: if you had to list the four dimensions of financial inclusion around the world (i.e. credit, savings (short and long-term), payments, insurance), from most representative to least, which listing would you suggest?

  43. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    For example, we find that in developing economies 37% of women have an account, compared with 46% of men. Even after controling for income, we find a persistant 9 percetage point gender gap among the top-20% of earners!

  44. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Great question Vernica! The great benefit of asking questions on the indivdiual-level is that we can splice and study the data by individual characteristics, such as income, gender, age, education, and urban vs rural residents. We are careful to ask about individual usage, for example, we ask “do you, by yourself or jointly with someone else, use an account you can deposit into and withdraw from…” which allows us to measure asset ownership by women and youth, for example.

  45. 837 days ago

    Natalie Zuniga

    Veronica Lopez from Fundacion Afi also says: When designing financial inclusion surveys, what would be more appropriate, to measure financial inclusion at the household level or at the individual level?

  46. 837 days ago

    Leora Klapper

    Welcome everybody. It’s great to see the widespread interest in Global Findex data—and how the data can be used to expand financial inclusion to the poor.
    I’m glad to answer your questions on the data, methodology, findings, etc…

  47. 837 days ago

    Natalie Zuniga

    Veronica Lopez from Fundacion Afi says: If you had to design just one single indicator to measure financial inclusion (excluding Honohan), from scratch, which one would it be? And if you had to design just one single indicator to measure usage, from scratch, which one would it be?

  48. 837 days ago

    Natalie Zuniga

    Welcome everybody, it is 11am EST! And World Bank’s Lead Economist, Leora Klapper is here to answer your questions.

    Some confirmed participants today include: Victoria Pietroboni from Planet Finance, Jatinder Handoo from FINO India, and Camilo Tellez from CGAP.

    Please, feel free to post your question on this board. I will also be posting the questions from participants who were not able to join, but send them in advance.

    And if you are having trouble posting your questions, please send them to nzuniga@ashoka.org and I’ll post them for you.

    And remember to refresh the page frequently to see other people’s questions and answers.

    Thanks everybody!

  49. 837 days ago

    Victoria Pietroboni

    Desde PlaNet Finance Argentina estamos listos para comenzar la charla!!

  50. 837 days ago

    Marzena Zukowska

    Hi Leora, thank you for being here and sharing your insights with us. I’m greatly looking forward to this conversation!

  51. 837 days ago

    Victoria Emanuelli

    Hello everybody! I´m really eager to start the conversation!

  52. 837 days ago

    Vicente Fenoll-Algorta

    great, regards from kubo.financiero

    • Natalie Zuniga

      Welcome Vicente! Leora will be answering your questions in one hour using this discussion board. Thanks!

      837 days ago

  53. 837 days ago

    Natalie Zuniga

    Hello! Welcome to our discussion board with World Bank Lead Economist Leora Klapper. At 11am EST, Leora will be answering your questions about the Global Findex, a database that measures how people save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk in 148 countries.

    Please remember to login to post your questions and to refresh the page frequently to see the answer and other people’s questions.

  54. 837 days ago

    Igor Etxabe

    Good morning, Leora!

    I am a member of a research group called ECRI Ethics in Finance and Governance (the unique group in this field of our country), at the University of the Basque Country. We are very interested to join your project about financial inclusion, and we are wondering how we could set different ways of collaboration.

    Waiting for your kind response, we remain. Thank you!

    PD: Natalie… are you (or your relatives) basque?

    • Natalie Zuniga

      Hi Igor, thanks for your question about ways of collaborating to promote financial inclusion.

      837 days ago

    • Natalie Zuniga

      And yes, I think my last name is basque, although I’m originally from Peru ;)

      837 days ago

  55. 838 days ago

    Dele Ojoniyi

    I don’t know if I will be available on Thursday but can you please give me the how to access individual funding from World Bank for a project in Nigeria?

  56. 840 days ago

    Natalie Zuniga

    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge about financial inclusion and for taking the time to discuss the insights and information gathered within the Global Findex Database.

    Here is some basic information for everybody on how to participate in the conversation on Thursday Septmeber 6th at 11am EST

    1. Login using your facebook account
    2. Write your comment or question
    3. Click “post”
    4. Click “refresh” frequently on your browser to see the answer and other people’s questions

    Note: If you are unable to attend, you can post your questions in advance or you can send us your questions to nzuniga@ashoka.org with your full name and we will post them for you.

  57. 844 days ago

    Mukit Rouf

    Really looking forward to it.