This project seeks to develop indicators of access to and use of financial services across countries (what we broadly refer to as "outreach'), as well as to study what explains variations in access, and how such differences affect economic outcomes across countries. For this purpose, we developed two original questionnaires. The first one targets bank regulators in over 100 countries and inquires primarily about the number of bank outlets (branches and ATMs), and the volume and value of loans and deposits in each country. The second questionnaire surveys the 5 largest banks in over 70 countries about the factors that explains their choice of location, the pricing and terms of their products, and who is granted access to them.
In Fall 2005, we have completed the collection of data from regulators and have produced a working paper that presents the outreach indicators we developed and analyzes both their determinants and their impact on firm financing constraints. The collection of bank level data is still on-going. So far we have received responses from 169 banks in 71 countries.