Despite remarkable progress over the past four years, there are still two billion individuals worldwide for whom the current financial products and services being offered are not appropriate, relevant or accessible. Experts predict the most important things to watch in 2016 in the bid to include those most excluded: women, rural populations and the poorest of the poor.

“A savings account is such a critical tool for women. It’s also a great entry point for a commercial bank to get comfortable with women as a segment they can deliver to. In research we did on digital savings products, we found that two-thirds of the institutions we interviewed were not giving any particular thought to women as a distinct segment. Sometimes people don’t realize this doesn’t require a total overhaul of the way that you build a product; it’s sometimes just some tweaks around the edges, it’s adjusting your marketing to address women’s needs and speak to them in a way that they want to be spoken to. The companies bold enough right now to recognize women as a valuable segment are the ones that are going to benefit most and become market leaders. We can absolutely solve this gender gap: the fact that we could get 700 million people into accounts in the last three years proves it.” – Karen Miller, Chief Knowledge and Communications Officer, Women’s World Banking.

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