Discussions on banking reforms to reduce financial exclusion have included little reference to possible attitudinal constraints, on the part of staff at both branch and institutional levels, towards providing financial services to the poor. The research project, funded by the ESCOR (now Social Science Research) Small Grants Committee, has focussed on this particular aspect of financial exclusion. The research commenced in May 2001 and a final report will be submitted in April 2002. The presentation first outlines the rationale and objectives of the research, and then gives details of research methodology to assess attitudes. Profiles are then presented of the rural bank branch managers (from Madhya Pradesh, India) in terms of personal background, professional background and work place. The attitudes of these managers towards different aspects of their work environment and the rural poor is then outlined, using results from both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The paper concludes by examining the policy implications of the findings. These include bank reforms to address human resource management, the work environment, intermediate bank management and organisation, and the interface with clients.
Presented at: Finance for growth and poverty reduction: experience and policy, University of Manchester, 10-12 April, 2002, 23 pp.