Households, Firms, and Microenterprises
While reliable data for a quantitative assessment of SMEs’ access to financial services are hard to come by, it is even more difficult to quantitatively assess households’, firms’, and microenterprises’ access to financial services. There do not seem to be any cross-country databases available, and only a few countries have detailed survey or census data on access to financial services by households, farms, and microenterprises. The World Bank has undertaken Living Standards Measurement Surveys (LSMSs) in several countries, but the finance component is relatively small in most cases.
In other cases, the dearth of data precludes a detailed analysis of households’, firms’, and microenterprises’ access to financial services. However, anecdotal and even limited quantitative evidence can provide some indication of social and geographic variation in access by those groups and can help define follow-up work.
Additional evidence on access may be available from suppliers of financial services. If such evidence is available, for example, one can analyze loan and deposit size distribution data for corporate sectors, household sectors, or both. This analysis would indicate the extent of small loans and deposits, which would show indirect evidence about access by small firms and households. In addition, data from the providers of financial services to those segments—such as microfinance, development finance institutions, or savings banks—can provide further evidence on access. An indication of the outreach and penetration of the different provider groups can help evaluate their effectiveness. Sometimes, quantitative and anecdotal evidence on the competitiveness and possible segmentation of household and microenterprise sector can be obtained. Unlike in the enterprise sec
tor, savings and payment services are often in greater demand in this sector than credit services.