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The underbanked are people or businesses that have poor access to mainstream financial services normally offered by retail banks. The underbanked can be characterized by a strong reliance on non-traditional forms of finance and micro-finance often associated with disadvantaged and the poor, such as cheque cashers, loan sharks and pawnbrokers.

The underbanked are a distinct group from the unbanked, who are characterized by having no banking facilities at all.[1]


Small countries have less banking provision than large countries even allowing for the smaller size of their economies.[2]


There are many microfinance initiatives such as the Grameen Bank which aim to improve the provision of banking and financial services to poor communities.


  1. ^ Retsinas, Nicolas Paul; Belsky, Eric S. (2005). Building assets, building credit: creating wealth in low-income communities. Brookings Institution Press. p. 299. ISBN 978-0-8157-7409-9. 
  2. ^ Hanson, James A.; Honohan, Patrick; Majnoni, Giovanni (2003). Globalization and National Financial Systems. World Bank Publications. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-8213-5208-3. 

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