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  November 7th, 2017 | Written by

Bankers Without Borders

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  • World Bank's “Global Financial Development Report 2017/2018” released.
  • Post-crisis restrictions on international banking can blunt growth prospects in developing countries.
  • Will finance be a friend or foe in the fight to end poverty?

Growing restrictions imposed on foreign banks operating in developing countries since the 2007-2009 global financial crisis are hampering better growth prospects by limiting the flow of much-needed financing to firms and households, a World Bank report warned.

International banking can have important benefits for development, but is no panacea, and carries risks. Developing economy policymakers would do well to consider how to maximize the benefits of cross-border banking while minimizing its costs, the World Bank’s “Global Financial Development Report 2017/2018: Bankers without Borders” says.

The 2007-2009 crisis and economic downturn prompted an extensive re-evaluation of the benefits and costs of international banking and led to restrictions that brought a decade-long surge in financial services globalization and cross-border lending to a halt. However, developing countries may need to reconsider the value of international banks as critical gateways to global credit and faster economic growth, even as they continue to manage risks, the report says.

“As aspirations continue to rise all over the world, and the banking sector evolves, there is a critical question: will finance be a friend or foe in the fight to end poverty?” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “International banking does create risks of exporting instability, especially for countries with poor regulations and institutions, and those risks need to be mitigated. But without a competitive banking sector, the poor will not be able to access basic financial services, many businesses will be locked out of markets, and growth in developing countries will stall.”

For more information, visit the World Bank website.