Financial Access in Central America

Bank Accounts per 1,000 adults: Costa Rica 1354, Guatemala 1140, Honduras 758, Panamá 412.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In branches per 100,000 adults, Guatemala is first with 35, followed by Costa Rica with 23, Panamá 18, El Salvador 9, and Honduras 2. No available data for Nicaragua.

Financial Access 2010 is the second annual survey of financial regulators in more than 140 countries covering the turbulent period between 2008 and 2009. It shows that the number of bank accounts worldwide was growing even as the volume of loan and deposit accounts dropped. Sixty-five deposit accounts were added per 1,000 adults in 2009, representing a 4.3 percent average growth in the number of deposit accounts. Use of credit services suffered more than that of deposit services from the financial crisis, and the number of loans per 1,000 adults was broadly unchanged between 2008 and 2009.

"Access to savings and payments accounts is a basic need," said Nataliya Mylenko, the report's lead author. "The fact that people were using basic deposit services more, even as world financial markets were experiencing high volatility, confirms how essential these services are to help families manage through risky and uncertain periods."

Globally, one bank branch, five ATMs, and 167 point-of-sale terminals were added per 100,000 adults in 2009. For the first time, the number of ATMs exceeded the number of bank branches in low-income countries. But low- and middle-income countries still lag behind high-income countries in terms of physical outreach.

More on this topic

Financial Inclusion: Data and Trends

November 2014

The microcredit portfolio in Latin America and the Caribbean is worth over $40 billion, is awarded by more than 1,000 institutions, and reaches more than 22 million customers.

From a statement issued by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB):

A new report documents significant expansion of microcredit in Latin America and the Caribbean

Little Banking Penetration in El Salvador

November 2012

Only 14% of the Salvadoran population has a bank account.

As a way to promote financial inclusion, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Spainish-United Nations Fund for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG-F), insist on the creation of a regulatory framework to govern banking services.

Better Environment for Microfinance in Nicaragua

March 2012

After the storm, the prospect of fresh funds from abroad has improved the business environment for microfinance.

"Between seven and ten million dollars could return to the portfolio’s belonging to Nicaraguan microfinance institutions this year, a product of the emerging recovery in the confidence levels of international creditors", writes Gisella Canales on

Panama Leads Region in Banking

January 2011

Panama ranks second in Latin America in number of bank branches and ATMs per 100,000 people with 90.28, surpassed only by Brazil with 99.37.

"Banking, or access to banking services, plays an important role in economic development of countries and in reducing poverty while promoting income distribution."

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