Poor Pay Price of Financial Globalization


Delhi        At the Delhi Press Club a short walk from the Parliament, leaders of our hawkers, street venders, and other groups aligned with our India FDI Watch Campaign joined with Action Aid (India) and ACORN International to release a report called “Taking the Credit” done in partnership with the World Development Movement (UK).  The bottom line is that the report found case after case where financial services liberalization was actually failing and hurting the poor.
    Our part of the research in the field had been to find out the experience of customers with multi-national banking institutions like HSBC, Barclay’s and others in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and elsewhere.  We probably should not have been surprised, but many of the practices were a wild form of customer creaming.  HSBC’s requirement that a minimum quarterly balance of 100,000 rupees be maintained was a common example of catering only to the top, since that would mean an average balance of about $2000 USD to account.
    There were stories after stories from our work that made the same point.  Another partner of WDM’s in Mexico amplified the message.  FDI modification may not be ready for primetime in India.
    The recommendations were sound.  More regulation.  More transparency.  And, more than anything actual programs and policies that speak to the entire population and the real need for efficient and affordable financial services.  This is past due.
    The full report can be read at http://www.wdm.org.uk/takingthecredit