Financial Inclusion in Russia: The Demand-Side Perspective

01 October 2014
The G20 Financial Inclusion Indicators suggest that financial inclusion should be measured in three dimensions: (i) access to financial services, (ii) usage of financial services, and (iii) quality of products and service delivery. To form a comprehensive view, the G20 Financial Inclusion Indicators include both supply-side and demand-side data. In addition, they provide further insight into access and usage aspects by including indicators on emerging branchless delivery channels such as mobile banking.
In 2012, CGAP conducted a Financial Inclusion Landscaping study in Russia that highlighted the need for comprehensive and detailed data on the picture of financial inclusion—and exclusion— in Russia, to better understand specific profiles and needs of the unbanked and underbanked, as well as barriers preventing people from accessing and using financial services. 
In 2014, CGAP conducted a follow-up research to fill in some of the information gaps with respect to the demand-side aspects of financial inclusion in Russia. The key findings and conclusions of the research are organized around the three dimensions of the G20 Financial Inclusion Indicators:
Chapter 1 presents an overview of the physical access infrastructure for key financial services and delivery channels, to put the data on customer perspectives on access-related issues into a broader context. It then follows with the findings of the survey on customer satisfaction with physical infrastructure for financial services.
Chapter 2 presents the survey findings on the current level of customer usage of financial services and financial service delivery channels, as well as awareness about them, and the intention to use financial services in the next 12 months.
Chapter 3 presents the findings on quality-related aspects of financial inclusion in Russia. It summarizes results from both the survey and qualitative interviews and addresses various barriers to financial inclusion, such as the level of trust in financial service providers and specific financial services, key reasons for using or not using financial services from the customer perspective, financial literacy, and behavioral biases affecting people’s decisions to use financial services. It also presents a comparison of customer versus provider perspectives with respect to key barriers to financial inclusion, based on data from the qualitative research.
The report concludes with a number of observations that could be useful for both financial service providers and policy makers working on financial inclusion issues in Russia, as well as researchers studying this topic.