Banking access maps


Map week continues. I stumbled upon paper with a table showing banking sector branch and ATM penetration. It’s called “Reaching out: Access to and use of banking services across countries” and was written by Beck et al from World Bank. Unfortunately It’s behind a paywall.

What the authors have attempted among other things is to assess how easily people can access banking services. I was interested because of two things. First any sort of decent standard of living probably includes easy bank access. it’s difficult to buy anything large, like a home or to save for anything, like old age if you don’t have access to a bank.

The second thing is that from my perspective an ATM is ancient tech and this paper was written in 2006 which is not that long ago. I think this can be explained by two things: technology has advanced rather fast and living in a rich western country makes things easy. I can also add that visiting an actual physical bank feels like a waste of time. This is also why I think that these penetrations don’t really tell what the authors hope they would. I suspected that even during 2006 access to a physical bank had lost value as a proxy to good standard of living. However, Figure 1 shows a fair linear relationship between demographic ATM penetration and GDP per capita.

ATM penetration vs GDPFigure 1. Demographic ATM penetration vs. GDP per capita


Geographic branch penetrationMap 1. Geographic branch penetration. Branches per 1000 km2.


Demographic branch penetrationMap 2. Demographic branch penetration. Branches per 100k people.


Geographic ATM penetrationMap 3. Geographic ATM penetration. ATMs per 1000 km2.


Demographic ATM penetrationMap 4. Demographic ATM penetration. ATMs per 100k people.

One thought on “Banking access maps”

  1. I liked the text so much I am not interested in the actual data! Good evaluation on the original research. I agree, access to physical bank tells pretty much nothing here. But somewhere else it probably does. I’ll save the graphs for later.

Comments are closed.