As Myanmar modernises its financial sector to better serve its economy and people, a growing opportunity to extend financial services to the majority of its people has opened up. MAP found that 30% of the 39 million adults use regulated financial services, but only 6% use more than one service. Fewer than 5% of adults have bank accounts. The majority of citizens rely on unregulated providers or family and friends to meet their need for financial services. The cost of services provided by unregulated providers is usually substantially higher than those offered by regulated providers. MAP also found that rural areas are slightly better served than urban areas. This is the result of targeted credit provision to rural areas by state financial institutions coupled with a nascent commercial banking sector. Microfinance institutions, operating under a legal framework since 2011, have made some headway and currently serve 700 000 clients.
As part of MAP a comprehensive household study on the demand for financial services was undertaken. Based on this study and qualitative demand-side research, MAP could segment the adult population into five target groups, each with distinctive patterns of financial usage and financial needs. The largest target group is Farmers (12 million). This group is the largest user of regulated credit thanks to rural loans disbursed by Myanmar Agricultural Development Bank and Microfinance Institutions. Formal enterprises (2.5 million adults) had the highest average income of all target groups. The bulk of this group (75%) live in urban areas. However, they have the lowest use of regulated credit, suggesting a major opportunity to improve growth and employment creation if regulated credit to this target group can be extended. Adults receiving their income from Informal enterprises (4.7 million) use more credit, both regulated and unregulated, than their compatriots with Formal enterprises.