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Global Financial Development Report 2017 / 2018:
Bankers without Borders


Bankers without Borders

Global Financial Development Report 2017/2018: Bankers without Borders brings to bear new evidence on the benefits and costs of international banking. Countries that are open to international banking can benefit from global flows of funds, knowledge, and opportunity, but the regulatory challenges are complex and, at times, daunting.

Main Messages

  • Following a decade of increased globalization, international banking suffered a setback after the global financial crisis.
  • Remaining open is important for countries to continue to benefit from global flows of funds, knowledge, and opportunity.
  • There is an important role for policy in maximizing the benefits and minimizing the costs of international banking.
  • Encouraging the right type of foreign bank presence or forms of capital flows without causing distortions is challenging.
  • Regulation and supervision of international banking is complex and should involve extensive cross-border coordination.

Read the complete messages in the Overview


The World Bank report Bankers without Borders is not associated with the Grameen Foundation’s Bankers without Borders program, which engages volunteer consultants to donate their expertise to serve social enterprises and nonprofits in poor countries. For more information, visit:

In Depth

Improving Financial Access

A majority of Financial Barometer Survey participants perceive international banking to be important in serving firms and households.

Large Banks Getting Larger

From 2005 to 2014, the total asset size of the world’s largest banks increased by more than 40 percent.


Regionalization has been rising with significant geographical variation. In MENA and SSA more than half of foreign banks are regional, while the amount is 10% for SAR.

Lending to Private Sector

In 2014, credit supplied by foreign banks amounted to 21% of GDP for the average developing countries, more than three quarters of which flew to the private real economy.

Resilience of Brick-and-Mortar Banking

Lending by brick-and-mortar banks has proven to be more resilient than cross-border bank funding in response to the financial crisis.

Rise of South-South Banking

During 2009-13, there are 5.5 acquisitions of foreign subsidiary by developing countries from high-income countries for each similar one the other way around.

Shift Towards Alternative Sources of Funding

For developing countries, since the GFC bond issuance has raised a similar amount of financing compared to borrowing via syndicated loans.

Influence of Technology on International Banking

In the remittances market, fintech MTOs have demonstrated more than 300 basis points of cost advantage over traditional bank services.