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The Financial Sector Program focuses on the development of financial institutions, their products and delivery systems, the markets in which they function, and the regulatory regimes under which they operate. A key objective is to promote inclusive financial systems that serve more than just the top of a nation’s economic pyramid, particularly unbanked and underbanked low-income households and family businesses.
Encompassing the fields of microfinance and retail banking, FSP comprises graduate degree courses, executive education, applied policy research, overseas advisory activities, and internship opportunities. FSP explores such issues as the relationship between financial sector development and economic growth; the appropriate role of government in the financial sector; bank closures and systemic risk; creation of a regulatory environment that fosters entrepreneurship among banks and their borrowers; financial exclusion; financial intermediation for the poor; and the impact of microfinance on poverty alleviation.
During the past year, FSP:
• Conducted the sixteenth annual session of the FIPED (Financial Institutions for Private Enterprise Development) Executive Education Program on the sustainable provision of financial services for low-income households and micro, small, and medium sized enterprises.
• Launched a new degree program course, PED-321 (Financial Services for Low-Income Households and Family Businesses).
• Advised MPP and MPA/ID students writing PAEs and SYPAs on financial sector development.
• Disseminated the multimedia teaching case (Part A and Part B) on Akbank, Turkey’s largest private bank, prepared with grants from M-RCBG and The American Turkish Society.
• Commenced enhancement of SymBanc, a systems dynamics-based virtual bank developed with funding from the Harvard Provost’s Office and the HKS predecessor to SLATE, and used in HKS executive education and degree courses.
• Conducted an in-depth study on building a more inclusive financial sector in Indonesia with funding from the Asian Economic Policy Review (AEPR), the Japan Center for Economic Research, and the HKS Indonesia Program, which was presented in Osaka at the APER Conference on “Developments in Asian Finance” and subsequently published in AEPR (December 2011).