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NextBillion Financial Innovation is a blog and news resource dedicated to improving financial access for low-income people around the world. 

The site, part of the NextBillion network, focuses on the businesses, issues and innovations that are making an impact on financial inclusion worldwide. It features a diverse collection of experts and practitioners, who share their knowledge, research and experiences in helping low-income people improve their lives and livelihoods.

The blog, which has been made possible by the Citi Foundation, serves as a space for discussion and debate, where readers can go to find fresh approaches and unconventional thinking. It also features job listings, news articles and event listings important to financial inclusion professionals.
 
Some of the topics featured on NextBillion Financial Innovation include:

  • Financial products: Advances in financial products to meet the needs of low-income people in the areas of microlending, microsavings, credit scoring and microinsurance, among others
  • Financial capability innovations and research: Developments in research and real-world initiatives for improving the financial capability of underserved and unbanked customers, regardless of geography
  • Technology: New innovations that harness mobile devices, mobile applications, and other technology to expand and deliver financial services and enable people to build financial capability
  • Business innovators: From startups to large banks, profiling some of the innovators who are deploying new financial products to help low-income customers secure credit to purchase a home, start a business or get an education
  • New approaches to investing: Innovative ways to maximize and assess impact investments across sectors to reach under-served communities
  • Discussion/Debate: Debates on the effectiveness of specific private enterprise approaches as well as government/aid agency and public policy efforts to improve financial inclusion
  • Knowledge: Coverage of important learnings and research shared at conferences, dedicated to financial inclusion dialogue and understanding

James Militzer serves as editor for the new blog. James, an accomplished writer and editor, is the former editor of NextBillion Health Care. He can be reached via email: jamesmil@umich.edu

Follow NextBillion Financial Innovation on Twitter @NextBillionFI.

FeaturesFEATURES

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

10 Takeaways from the World Bank Forum on Microcredit's (lack of) Social Impact: The key discussions, debates and controversies as the sector contemplates its future

By James Militzer — WDI

"For a researcher working on microcredit, this is kind of a defining moment." That’s how poverty researcher Abhijit Banerjee, speaking at last Friday’s World Bank forum, described the six recent studies on microcredit’s social impact (or lack thereof). NextBillion covered the forum live, and we've compiled 10 takeaways (and 11 tweets!) from both the research, and the sector's reaction to it.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Following the (Mobile) Money: Services now available in 61 percent of developing markets, GSMA reports

By Claire Scharwatt

The mobile financial services sector continued to expand in 2014, boosted by the creation of more enabling regulatory frameworks in several markets, according to the GSMA's 2014 State of the Industry Report on mobile financial services. With 255 mobile money services in operation across 89 countries, mobile money services are now available in over 60 percent of developing markets. 

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Striving for Consistency: A new guide aims to standardize impact assessments of the growing microinsurance market

By Julia Graham

Estimates suggest there are close to 270 million microinsurance clients in the developing world, with a potential market estimated at 3 to 4 billion policies. But while assessing the social impact of this growing sector is vital to improving product design, there is a dearth of consistency amongst the impact assessments being conducted. Microinsurance Network created “A Practical Guide to Impact Assessments” to address this challenge.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Four Ways Big Data Can Improve Financial Lives: CFSI previews its upcoming report on harnessing data technology for the underserved market

By Eva Wolkowitz — CFSI

Big Data is a buzzword, but it's also a very real phenomenon: analysts estimate that annual data production will increase by a whopping 4300% between 2009 and 2020. In advance of a new report on the subject, the Center for Financial Services Innovation discusses four key trends driving Big Data innovation that can unlock value for both financial providers and consumers.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Don't Cover Everything: Why targeted health microinsurance can work better than full coverage

By Barbara Magnoni

EA Consultants' efforts to understand both the business case and client value of microinsurance led to some interesting findings. For instance, catastrophic health insurance represented much greater value than primary or outpatient care for clients, but its behavioral effects skewed against good health outcomes. Barbara Magnoni discusses these findings, and offers some solutions.

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