MetLife Foundation Is Proud to Present Its 2016 Annual Report

Why does financial inclusion matter?
May 19, 2017 8:00 AM ET

When MetLife Foundation launched our financial inclusion strategy in 2013, the financial inclusion industry was beginning to show that a well-coordinated global effort could produce impressive results. We saw that more than 2 billion people lacked access to formal financial services. But we also saw how steadily that gap was being closed. Financial services providers, investors, donors, regulators, and many other parties were collaborating to bring more and better financial services to massive numbers of unserved or underserved people. Digital technology was making it possible to expand financial service as never before, even to geographically isolated and very low-income communities.

In 2016, the Foundation made USD 43 million in contributions, with 70 percent going to financial inclusion grants. This report describes a selection of our work to illustrate how we are making an impact. We want to ensure that more people have all the financial tools they need and know how to use them to help make their dreams a reality. We want to strengthen the capacity of financial services providers to understand their customers and deliver what they need in a way that is sustainable for the providers, and is safe, affordable, and effective for customers. And we want to build the knowledge of the industry. We learn from every grant we make, and are committed to sharing those lessons.

MetLife Foundation is deeply encouraged by the progress that the industry is making globally and in individual markets. While we know that there is still much work ahead, we look forward to a future that is financially secure for all. 

The right financial services can make all the difference. For families. For financial institutions. For communities. For families, financial inclusion means having the tools to manage money, deal with setbacks, and seize opportunities. Affordable credit—whether it’s a mortgage or a student loan or capital to start a business—can be what turns a dream into a concrete plan for a better future. A savings account can be that all-important first step on the path to a more secure future. Insurance can keep a problem from spiraling into a devastating crisis. Long-term investments and pension savings can ease the vulnerability that comes with aging.

For financial institutions, financial inclusion means reaching a larger pool of customers and serving those customers over the long term. New digital channels and business models are affordably delivering more and better services to more people – nearly 1 billion of whom are new users of formal financial services. For communities, financial inclusion means reaching the majority. In many countries, the majority of the population remains outside the formal financial system. Financial inclusion means bringing them into that system and making sure it works for them. When effective financial services help the majority achieve their goals, whether to educate children, pursue better health and nutrition, improve property, start or expand a business, or build savings, entire communities stand to benefit.

Experience the complete MetLife Foundation 2016 Annual Report