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SURVEY: MICROFINANCE - The hidden wealth of the poor - Financial services are at last spreading from the rich to the developing world—and even making money

What makes microfinance such an appealing idea is that it offers “hope to many poor people of improving their own situations through their own efforts,” says Stanley Fischer, former chief economist of the World Bank...Local banking giants that used to ignore the poor, such as Ecuador's Bank Pichincha and India's ICICI, are now entering the market. Even more strikingly, some of the world's biggest and wealthiest banks, including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, HSBC, ING and ABN Amro, are dipping their toes into the water. [also refers to SKS, Grameen Bank, K-Rep]