With ongoing political turmoil, foreign banks may have all but packed up and left Pakistan, but the financial sector has barely noticed. Indeed, assets and deposits have doubled between the end of 2008 and June 2014, while Islamic banking has begun to make its impact felt.
Mired in the fallout of global financial crisis, Vietnam’s banking sector is now entering a new phase, with the government prioritising the restructuring of state-owned banks as it strives to tackle high NPL levels and stabilise the economy.
The Indian government is looking to break the cycle of poverty in the country's rural and urban areas by ensuring every household has a bank account. Rekha Gupta Menon reports on how banks are working to bring the Indian unbanked into the formal banking network.
Despite the plunge in the value of the renminbi earlier this year and growing concerns over China's long-term growth, the offshore renminbi bond market shows no signs of slowing down. Issuance volumes continue increasing annually, but most importantly the market is becoming more sophisticated.
Japan's unemployment rate may be shrinking but behind this headline figure lurks problems such as low labour mobility and excessive reliance on part-time employment. These are deep-rooted issues that new government initiatives are trying to flush out.
Pakistan's microfinance industry has slowly been gaining traction in recent years, and is in for a huge boost when new biometric identification methods are brought into the mainstream – primarily to help combat terrorism – which will allow banks to verify new customers remotely.
Having had a long and successful career in the commercial sector, Mohammad Zubair, Pakistan's privatisation minister, understands the importance of the country's privatisation drive. But, not everybody shares his enthusiasm, with the heavily unionised companies putting up resistance to the privatisation plans, and foreign investors wary of the country's less-than-perfect track record in denationalisation deals.
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