Banking with the Poor is FDC’s first and continuing initiative in inclusive finance promoting linkages between the formal and informal financial sectors as a means of increasing access to and usage of sustainable financial services by people across Asia that remain excluded from the formal financial system.
This pioneering initiative to explore the potential of linkages was launched in Manila in 1991 when FDC brought together representatives of leading banks, experienced NGOs and other financial institutions from eight Asian countries — Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka — for a regional dialogue. The success of this and successive annual workshops made the project an early landmark in the rapidly expanding field of microfinance.
It also led to the formation of a unique network of central banks, leading commercial banks, microfinance institutions and NGOs throughout Asia (the BWTP Network) dedicated to exploring, sharing and publicising the scope and means to increase access to and use of financial services to the poor on a sustainable basis.
Today, the Banking with the Poor Network is the largest regional inclusive finance network in Asia, producing research and facilitating peer learning to improve microfinance practice and policy in the region.