Banking Access Can Help Break Cycle of Poverty

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Johannesburg, Jun 11, 2008 (Business Day/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX News Network) — QUEUING at the bank often seems as inevitable, and about as much fun, as death and taxes. Yet for many in SA, bank services remain far out of reach.

The findings of the 2005-06 Income and Expenditure Survey (IES) on access to financial services show up the divisions in the economy that leave so many poor and unemployed, and the way markets continue to replicate the inequalities created over decades of colonial and then apartheid rule.

The IES finds that only 57% of all households pay bank charges. This means that two out of five households in SA made do without formal financial services — making it harder to keep money safe, pay bills or get credit. Access to banking is linked to income: nine out of 10 households in the richest 20% of all households had bank accounts; only a fifth of those in the poorest 20%.

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Source: Calibre (link opens in a new window)