Two-thirds of Nepalese have a bank account
It is estimated that 67.3 percent of Nepalese have at least one bank account, but there is a huge gap in the number of accounts between men and women, and rural and urban areas, a central bank report revealed. .
According to the Financial Access Report 2021 released Friday by Nepal Rastra Bank, male account holders are almost two to one compared to women. Of the 29.92 million account holders in banking and financial institutions, 19.11 million are men and 10.61 million are women.
Likewise, there is a rural-urban gap in the number of bank accounts. There are 251 accounts per 1,000 inhabitants in rural municipalities while 953 accounts per 1,000 inhabitants in urban municipalities. The gap increases when the number of account holders in rural municipalities is compared to people in sub-metropolitan cities and metropolitan cities.
There are 1,930 and 3,296 accounts per 1,000 inhabitants, respectively, in sub-metropolitan cities and metropolitan cities.
The central bank report says gender bias exists in all provinces and at all local levels, while the urban population has better access to financial services than the rural population.
“Karnali Province, Province 2 and Surdurpaschim Province have a low number of deposit accounts compared to other provinces,” the report said. “This implies that we need to focus on improving financial access in these provinces as well as for women and rural areas. Increasing financial access to unbanked areas and segments requires both demand and supply side approaches. “
Kusum Lama, president of Prabhu Management, a financial services company, said, “Financial access starts at home, and since the majority of income in most families is male, women have less access to finance. Even in urban areas, women participate less in financial management, and their fathers or husbands manage it for them. “
She added: “There is a lack of financial awareness campaigns for women in the country. Unless women are financially educated, their access to finance will be less. Financial access to women will also help them contribute to the economy.
Lama said that if banks gave grants on loans to women, it would help increase their financial access, as it would encourage them to use their rights. “Banks would have to change their investment models to make this happen,” she added.
“Banks and financial institutions appear to be focused on providing loans to existing businessmen and are reluctant to expand new, inclusive finance programs that cater not only to urban clients, but also to clients in rural areas. “Lama said.
In rural areas, women practice market gardening, animal husbandry and other income-generating activities, but it is the men who bring the produce to the market. As a result, women do not see the money they have earned and their role is limited to production.
Prabhu Management is working to improve financial education in Sudurpaschim Province, where most men travel to India for a living while women stay at home, so that they can manage their income. male parents. “We paired them with prepaid cards or an electronic wallet,” Lama said.
According to the report, financial technology is more popular among the young and middle population compared to other age groups. The Covid-19 pandemic has also proven the importance of digital payment systems for business continuity.
The age profile of account holders shows that 96.15% of accounts are held by adults (16 and over) while the majority of account holders are between 20 and 40 years old.
“Investment in digital payment is expected to continue given its popularity with young users and the uncertainty surrounding the existence of Covid-19. The use of technology must also be extended to improve financial inclusion across the country with the effective implementation of digital financial literacy, ”the report says.
In terms of electronic payment, the percentage of automatic teller machines (ATM) users is 20.35%, Internet banking users represent 3.86% and mobile banking users respectively represent 32.03%. of total deposit accounts, according to the report.
Bagmati Province has the highest percentage of FinTech users with 26.11 percent of ATM users, 6.40 percent of Internet banking users and 33.12 percent of mobile banking users.
The total number of accounts per 1,000 population stands at 998, while the total number of accounts per 1,000 adults stands at 1,348.1, according to the report. Individual (natural) accounts represent 93.48% of the total deposit accounts in banking and financial institutions.
The population per branch is 5,268, the lowest of 2,185 in metropolitan areas and the highest of 11,716 in rural municipalities. Savings accounts make up the largest number of deposit accounts in banking and financial hunches, while about a third of accounts are dormant, according to the report.
The number of people with bank accounts has increased mainly due to government policy of running campaigns to encourage people to open bank accounts, the requirement to have a bank account to receive social security benefits, l ‘expansion of bank branches at the local level and increased participation of people in the stock market through online buying and trading mechanisms that require them to have a bank account.
About a third (33.6%) of the total deposit accounts are dormant accounts. This shows that financial access does not guarantee the use of bank accounts. Female accounts are less dormant than male accounts, the report revealed. The proportion of dormant accounts is higher for non-financial corporations than for individual accounts.
Nepal Rastra Bank conducted the study to further explore the state of financial access of regulated banking and financial institutions (Classes A, B, C) based on detailed deposit account data as of mid-June 2020.
At that time, there were 5,694 bank branches, 31.88 million deposit accounts, 1.52 million loan accounts, 10.67 million mobile banking customers, 992,724 Internet banking customers, and 7.24 million ATM card holders.
The 5,694 branches of class A, B, C banking and financial institutions gave a ratio of 18.98 branches per 100,000 inhabitants.
The concentration of branches is higher in Bagmati and Gandaki provinces compared to other provinces. Province 2 has the lowest number of branches per 100,000 population – 9.73 branches.