Infographic: Banking the Unbanked is a $380B Opportunity
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Banking the Unbanked is a $380B Opportunity

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A Stunning Visual Map of the Social Media Universe

Banking the Unbanked is a $380B Opportunity

Today’s infographic comes from Raconteur, and it looks at the opportunity of providing financial services to the population of unbanked people in emerging markets. View the full-size version of the graphic for better resolution.

For those of us living in North America or Europe, we generally take the near-universal access we have to financial services for granted.

Sure, there are many people that have questions or concerns about the way central banks and currencies operate, but even the most skeptical of these people likely keep some money in a bank or investment account. It’s convenient, easy, and it facilitates other economic transactions.

But, there are billions of people in the world that do not have such an opportunity. This “unbanked” population pays for rent and goods in cash, and they usually don’t have easy access to things like a bank account, insurance, investments, or pensions.

Where are the Unbanked?

The World Bank has data from 160 countries on this subject, and it’s clear that there are some pretty significant holes that can be filled – either by financial institutions, or fintech companies – that are willing to take the chance.

Most of the world’s unbanked population lives in highly rural, undeveloped areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia. In countries in these regions, such as Turkmenistan (where only 1.8% have bank accounts) or Niger (3.5% have accounts), banking is largely unknown to the masses.

A Multi-Billion Dollar Opportunity

But is an unbanked country like Turkmenistan where the opportunity lies? Not really, because it only has five million people, close to 60% unemployment, and a particularly repressive regime. It’s a lot of risk to take on for an extremely low payoff.

However, emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean seem like a much safer potential bet for would-be providers. While smaller proportions of their populations lack access to basic financial services, their higher overall populations and income levels make them a more feasible choice.

In the Asia-Pacific, the World Bank sees increased banking penetration as a $79 billion opportunity for personal banking of individuals with under $8k in annual income. Likewise, it sees a $95 billion opportunity in micro and small business banking in the region.

For Latin America and the Caribbean, the opportunity is similar: $34 billion for personal banking (less than $8k income) and $81 billion for micro and small banking business.

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The Top Google Searches Related to Investing in 2022

What was on investors’ minds in 2022? Discover the top Google searches and how the dominant trends played out in portfolios.

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Trend lines showing when the top Google searches related to investing reached peak popularity over the course of 2022.
The following content is sponsored by New York Life Investments

The Top Google Searches Related to Investing in 2022

It was a turbulent year for the markets in 2022, with geopolitical conflict, rising prices, and the labor market playing key roles. Which stories captured investors’ attention the most? 

This infographic from New York Life Investments outlines the top Google searches related to investing in 2022, and offers a closer look at some of the trends.

Top Google Searches: Year in Review

We picked some of the top economic and investing stories that saw peak search interest in the U.S. each month, according to Google Trends.

Month of Peak InterestSearch Term
JanuaryGreat Resignation
FebruaryRussian Stock Market
MarchOil Price
April Housing Bubble
MayValue Investing
JuneBitcoin
JulyRecession
AugustInflation
SeptemberUS Dollar
OctoberOPEC
NovemberLayoffs
DecemberInterest Rate Forecast

Data based on exact searches in the U.S. from December 26, 2021 to December 18, 2022.

Let’s look at each quarter in more detail, to see how these top Google searches were related to activity in the economy and investors’ portfolios.

Q1 2022

The start of the year was marked by U.S. workers quitting their jobs in record numbers, and the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war. For instance, the price of crude oil skyrocketed after the war caused supply uncertainties. Early March’s peak of $125 per barrel was a 13-year high.

DateClosing Price of WTI Crude Oil
(USD/Barrel)
January 2, 2022$76
March 3, 2022$125
December 29, 2022$80

While crude oil lost nearly all its gains by year-end, the energy sector in general performed well. In fact, the S&P 500 Energy Index gained 57% over the year compared to the S&P 500’s 19% loss.

Q2 2022

The second quarter of 2022 saw abnormal house price growth, renewed interest in value investing, and a bitcoin crash. In particular, value investing performed much better than growth investing over the course of the year.

IndexPrice Return in 2022
S&P 500 Value Index-7.4%
S&P 500 Growth Index-30.1%

Value stocks have typically outperformed during periods of rising rates, and 2022 was no exception.

Q3 2022

The third quarter was defined by worries about a recession and inflation, along with interest in the rising U.S. dollar. In fact, the U.S. dollar gained against nearly every major currency.

Currency USD Appreciation Against Currency
(Dec 31 2020-Sep 30 2022)
Japanese Yen40.1%
Chinese Yuan9.2%
Euro25.1%
Canadian Dollar7.2%
British Pound22.0%
Australian Dollar18.1%

Higher interest rates made the U.S. dollar more attractive to investors, since it meant they would get a higher return on their fixed income investments.

Q4 2022

The end of the year was dominated by OPEC cutting oil production, high layoffs in the tech sector, and curiosity about the future of interest rates. The Federal Reserve’s December 2022 economic projections offer clues about the trajectory of the policy rate.

 202320242025Longer Run
Minimum Projection4.9%3.1%2.4%2.3%
Median Projection5.1%4.1%3.1%2.5%
Maximum Projection5.6%5.6%5.6%3.3%

The Federal Reserve expects interest rates to peak in 2023, with rates to remain elevated above pre-pandemic levels for the foreseeable future.

The Top Google Searches to Come

After a year of volatility across asset classes, economic uncertainty remains. Which themes will become investors’ top Google searches in 2023?

Find out how New York Life Investments can help you make sense of market trends.

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