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Interview with AUCC Chairperson Carolyn Lamm Before 2012 Uzbekistan-US Annual Business Forum

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Financial Sector Reforms are Crucial for Sustained, Inclusive Growth in Europe and Central Asia

6 December 2016

Financial sector development must go beyond improving access to bank credit. Financial systems should develop in a balanced way through both bank and non-bank subsectors, including capital markets, the insurance sector, and other nonbank financial institutions to properly support inclusive growth in Europe and Central Asia, says a new World Bank report.

Risks and Returns: Managing Financial Trade-Offs for Inclusive Growth in Europe and Central Asia, launched today at the National Bank of Poland in Warsaw, notes that financial system in emerging countries in the Europe and Central Asia region is significantly less developed and less diversified than the financial system of their closest benchmark, Western Europe, and many of its middle-income peers.

For example, only about 38 percent of adults use savings products, compared with the developing world average of 54 percent, and just a few percent use insurance products. Distrust in banks among people is also higher than in any other region of the world.

“Overcoming this distrust and increasing the diversity of the financial system is crucial for sustainable growth. Policies need to focus on creating market incentives while also reducing barriers to ensure that the financial system benefits a wide spectrum of people and firms,” said David Gould, a World Bank Lead Economist in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region and author of the report.