The geographical outreach of financial services is increasing but at a slow pace, despite the fast increasing number of banks and financial institutions.
One branch of a bank in the country has been serving around 15,000 adults, according to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) third annual Financial Access Survey released yesterday.
"Per 100,000 adults had geographical outreach to 6.67 bank branches in 2011, from 4.59 branches in 2010, said the survey that has revealed that in Nepal there were some 8.90 bank branches per 1,000-sq-km in 2011 from only 6.12 branches a year ago.
The total number of bank and financial institutions licensed by the central bank dropped to 266 by mid-July 2012 from 272 in mid-July 2011, according to the central bank data.
The Financial Access Survey also revealed that there are some 8.90 ATMs per 1,000-sq-km, whereas in 2010 there were only 6.67 ATMs per 1,000-sq-km.
The Financial Access Survey is the sole global supply-side source of comparable geographic and demographic data on access to and usage of basic consumer financial services by households and enterprises across the world.
Similarly, use of financial services like outstanding deposits with banks and loans from banks — per cent of gross domestic production (GDP) — has also increased, though at a slower pace.
"Outstanding loans from banks stood at 45.06 per cent of the GDP in 2011 from 39.80 per cent of the GDP a year back," the survey revealed, adding that the outstanding deposit with banks has increased to 58.67 per cent of GDP in 2011 from 53.83 per cent of GDP in 2010.
The survey is also the only source of data covering all five categories of the Basic Set of Financial Inclusion Indicators endorsed by G-20 leaders at the Los Cabos Summit in June 2012, according to the IMF.
The 2012 Financial Access Survey was conducted in collaboration with the Access to Finance Advisory Services of the International Finance Corporation, and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, whereas
the Netherlands' Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Australian Agency for International Development provided financial support.
The IMF also claimed that the 2012 survey was enhanced to include time series on basic consumer financial access indicators covering credit unions, financial cooperatives and microfinance institutions, and to separately identify small and medium enterprises, households, life insurance and non-life insurance.
The 2012 round has a response rate of over 93 per cent with 182 reporting jurisdictions, of which 27 are first-time reporters. It represents a 35 per cent increase in country coverage relative to the 2011 round, which covered 135 reporting jurisdictions.
The survey database contains annual data and metadata for a total of 187 jurisdictions, including all G-20 economies, covering an eight-year period (2004-2011), and totalling more than 40,000 time series.