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NextBillion Financial Innovation is a blog and news resource dedicated to improving financial access for low-income people around the world. 

The site, part of the NextBillion network, focuses on the businesses, issues and innovations that are making an impact on financial inclusion worldwide. It features a diverse collection of experts and practitioners, who share their knowledge, research and experiences in helping low-income people improve their lives and livelihoods.

The blog, which has been made possible by the Citi Foundation, serves as a space for discussion and debate, where readers can go to find fresh approaches and unconventional thinking. It also features job listings, news articles and event listings important to financial inclusion professionals.
Some of the topics featured on NextBillion Financial Innovation include:

  • Financial products: Advances in financial products to meet the needs of low-income people in the areas of microlending, microsavings, credit scoring and microinsurance, among others
  • Financial capability innovations and research: Developments in research and real-world initiatives for improving the financial capability of underserved and unbanked customers, regardless of geography
  • Technology: New innovations that harness mobile devices, mobile applications, and other technology to expand and deliver financial services and enable people to build financial capability
  • Business innovators: From startups to large banks, profiling some of the innovators who are deploying new financial products to help low-income customers secure credit to purchase a home, start a business or get an education
  • New approaches to investing: Innovative ways to maximize and assess impact investments across sectors to reach under-served communities
  • Discussion/Debate: Debates on the effectiveness of specific private enterprise approaches as well as government/aid agency and public policy efforts to improve financial inclusion
  • Knowledge: Coverage of important learnings and research shared at conferences, dedicated to financial inclusion dialogue and understanding

James Militzer serves as editor for the new blog. James, an accomplished writer and editor, is the former editor of NextBillion Health Care. He can be reached via email:

Follow NextBillion Financial Innovation on Twitter @NextBillionFI.


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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Weekly Roundup - 9/20/14: An awkward moment, new momentum and a brewing battle highlight recent developments in finance

By James Militzer — WDI

Muhammad Yunus has issued some pointed criticisms of microfinance's turn toward profit. But is the sector he pioneered listening to him - and are his ideals even realistic in the first place? We discuss these questions - along with signs of momentum in impact investing and new developments in a Kenyan mobile money battle - in this Roundup.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

An interview with Muhammad Yunus: The godfather of microcredit shares his views – and concerns – about the sector

By James Militzer — WDI

Though he's a tireless promoter of microcredit's potential to help the poor, Muhammad Yunus hasn't been shy in voicing his criticisms of its embrace of commercialism. In a video Q&A with NextBillion Financial Innovation – the first in a series of conversations with microfinance thought leaders – Yunus discusses his concerns about the industry's direction, and points to ways it could improve.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Why Don't Small and Medium Businesses Grow?: Innovations for Poverty Action Working Group tackles the question from several angles

By Ariela Alpert and Sarah Craig — IPA

SMEs are thought to be the backbone of many economies, leading governments and aid agencies to spend billions of dollars on SME assistance each year. However, little evidence exists on the actual barriers to growth and the most effective solutions to alleviate these constraints. IPA's SME Initiative is working to address this knowledge gap, and they describe the findings of several studies in this post.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

NexThought Monday - Between the CEO and the BoP: Root Capital report focuses on the often overlooked role of women as "middle managers"

By Willy Foote

Root Capital CEO Willy Foote says the impact investment firm realized that most approaches to women’s economic empowerment have focused on the opposite ends of the economic spectrum: business leaders and entrepreneurs on one side, and women workers at the BoP on the other. But what about women who are not CEOs or entrepreneurs but who hold positions critical to the success of the enterprise?

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Friday, September 12, 2014

More Than Just Smiles: Excellent customer service must be a top priority for any market-led financial institution, says MicroSave

By NextBillion Editor

In MicroSave's research, “how I am treated by the staff (or agents) of the institution” consistently appears as a top driver of customer choice of service provider - as well as uptake and use of financial services. With the renewed interest in client-centricity, it's important to recall the core role of customer service in serving the low income market.


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Scaling Impact in Inclusive Market Systems

Monday, September 22, 2014



Thursday, September 25, 2014


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