Financial Inclusion Survey in Colombian Conflict Affected Municipalities
Between August and December 2016, Banco de la República (Colombia Central Bank), with technical and financial support from USAID/Colombia's Rural Finance Initiative (RFI), carried out a rural financial inclusion survey in three municipalities in Southern Tolima, one of the main conflict-affected region, which is characterized by very poor road infrastructure and for being the birthplace of FARC guerrillas. The survey was conducted through a strategic partnership signed between the Colombian Central Bank, USAID/RFI and the regional Universidad de Ibague. The purpose of this survey was to gather data and identify how did the local population manage and solve their financial needs, and to evaluate their perception towards the financial sector.
At the same time USAID had the objective of building capacity among local partners (Central Bank and the University) to conduct this type of studies. By using data analyzed, the Central Bank published a white paper to influence public policy regarding financial inclusion in rural and dispersed areas in Colombia. The results of the study were presented by the Colombian Central Bank Manager in a meeting with CEO's of Colombia Financial Sector co-hosted by the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia. As an immediate result of the survey, five Colombian financial institutions decided to start providing financial services to the population of this territory through developing adequate financial products and access channels. These financial institutions were also supported by USAID through Technical Assistance and a DCA guarantee program to encourage the provision of financial services and productive loans in targeted rural municipalities.