Sunday, November 18, 2007

Banking the poor

"As the chairman of Standard Chartered, I am fortunate enough to travel frequently. I have seen the catastrophic effects of poverty. No individual, global company or national government is insulated from the devastating impact of poverty.

There is one issue that we all need to focus on with great urgency and that is financial inclusion. By this I mean the provision of financial services to poor people who would not normally have access to finance."

Yep: the poor are bankable, and there are many of them: Lets lend them money and make a clean buck.

The chairman preempted me by saying a bit further down in the same article:

"I’m always frustrated by the criticism levelled at international companies operating in developing countries simply because they make a profit. You can today make profit with principles. Profit can equate to sustainability, and part of being a sustainable business is making profit."

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