Low-income people worldwide need a full range of financial services. Banks, in turn, need new markets. Throughout most of the developing world, 70-80% of the population represents uncharted territory for providers of financial services.
It has long been assumed that poor people in developing countries are ill-equipped to make use of financial services and cannot be served sustainably or profitably. Over the past generation, pioneers in microfinance have proved such assumptions wrong, or even obsolete, as new techniques and technologies have been developed.