Access to finance in the ECA region


Measuring Access to Finance: Developing evidence-based access policies

According to the recently-published Global Findex data, 45% of adults in the ECA region have access to financial services, making it among global leaders in financial inclusion. However, performance within the region is mixed. Some countries (such as Slovenia) boast near universal access, while in others (such as Kyrgyzstan), less than 5% of adults use any type of financial product. Other challenges exist around quality of access, availability of appropriate financial products and institutional infrastructure.

In response to these challenges, MFC conducts comprehensive research around access to finance, including data collection and review of current policies and regulations. The aim is to gather evidence for policy-level changes designed to increase the use of financial services. In Belarus, we focus on the conditions that facilitate financial access (market conditions, policy environment, etc.) to develop a strategy for broadening and deepening access to finance based on local market reality and data.

More information about the approach is presented in project leaflet which can be downloaded here.

Project outputs

Project outputs include:

  • an access to Financial Services (AFS) framework on the supply of financial services, demand for financial services and pro-access policies
  • a total financial inclusion index (TFII) developed and larger research on access to finance conducted
  • proposals for pro-access policies and regulations based on detailed analysis of client use of financial services.

Learn more about our projects in:

Poland: Measuring Access to Finance: Developing Evidence-Based Access Policies in Poland (2014)

The objective of the project is to support the consultative process towards improving financial inclusion with comprehensive research evidence on the state of financial inclusion. The project is funded by MetLife Foundation.

The outputs will support the development of policies to increase use of financial services in the country through a comprehensive research and data collection and review of current policies and regulations. The project will focus on gathering evidence for the policy changes.

The project will have several important outputs:

  • an Steering Committee on improving access to finance will be set up to coordinate efforts of different state agencies in improving access to finance in the country
  • a conceptual framework for measuring access to finance will be adapted to the Polish context
  • an assessment of usage of financial services  will present the actual level of financial inclusion on the whole and in particular groups of financial services
  • a report on the conditions of access to finance will be prepared as a tool for policy application and financial market development
  • recommendations for different stakeholders will be developed and disseminated at the national level

Read more about our approach (in Polish) here

Project results


Turkey: Overview of the State of Financial Inclusion in Turkey (2014)

The project entitled: “Overview of the state of financial inclusion in Turkey” will be the first initiative to aggregate already available data on access and use of financial services in Turkey to present a more comprehensive picture of the actual state of financial inclusion. The project was funded by MetLife Foundation.

The study will draw on MFC’s experience in measuring different aspects of financial inclusion and will also align the indicators with recommended set of basic set of financial inclusion indicators endorsed by G20 leaders in 2012.

Project results


European Union (2014)

As part of a multi-component project funded by European Commission, MFC is developing and testing methodology of Access to Finance Barometer that will provide insights into the country-level access to finance issues and priorities in 10 EU countries.

The purpose of the AFS Barometer is to assess the level of financial inclusion and conditions of access to finance in EU member states to identify gaps leading to the exclusion of certain groups of the population. Although, the level of financial inclusion is in general high in the EU, certain minority groups are constrained in enjoying appropriate access to quality financial services, such as a basic bank account, microcredit, etc.

The research will focus on identifying weaknesses in the supply of financial products/services, limitations in the abilities to use the full potential of financial services offered.

Scope of research

The EU Barometer is based on the access to finance scorecard diagnostic methodology developed by MFC and implemented in Belarus, Turkey and currently in Poland.

The Barometer will look at financial inclusion from two perspectives – usage of financial products/services as well as the conditions of access.

  • Usage – share of the population and different socio-economic groups using different types of financial services, including accounts and payments, deposit and investment, credit and insurance products
  • Access to financial services – the conditions conducive to access, grouped into the supply-side, demand-side and policy-side considerations

Research methodology

The research will utilize two methods and will be conducted in two phases:

  • secondary data review will utilize international statistics to ensure comparability of the results between the EU states to seek the gaps in financial inclusion.
  • primary research will concentrate on gathering contextual information to better understand the drivers of financial exclusion and priorities in addressing identified limitations. This part of research will be carried out using a modified Delphi method, in which a series of expert interviews is carried out to gather views on the priorities in addressing financial inclusion gaps.


Results of the assessment of the level of financial inclusion and access conditions are available here

Policy notes:

Belarus: Measuring Access to Finance: Developing Evidence-Based Access Policies in Belarus (2012)

The project was initiated and managed by the National Bank of Belarus in cooperation with other government agencies and funded by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI).

As part of this project, MFC developed Access to Finance Scorecard(AFS) to capture diverse aspects of access and usage into a comprehensive tool to measure inclusion. The framework equips national-level stakeholders with data to inform policy-making and financial service regulation.

During the one-year project comprehensive research was conducted on the infrastructure and supply of financial services, the demand survey of households to better understand the patterns of use of financial services as well as pro-access policy assessment.

As a result, recommendations for policy changes were developed highlighting key areas for improvement.

Project results

The results of the surveys are available here:

  • Estimation and Analysis of Financial Inclusion among Households and Individuals in the Republic of Belarus. Full text, summary
  • Estimation and Analysis of SME Financial Inclusion in the Republic of Belarus. Full text, summary
  • Financial Inclusion Policy Survey in the Republic of Belarus. Full text
  • Assessment and analysis of Supply of Financial Services to individual consumers in Belarus. Full text, summary
  • Demand survey analysis - individuals and households. Full text, summary