Asia Focus

July 2008
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Postal Savings Reform in Northeast Asia, Part One: Japan and South Korea

Author(s):

Postal savings programs have long served as vehicles to promote savings among all segments of a population, especially those in rural and agricultural regions which are frequently without ready access to banking or other financial services. Over the past several years, there have been a number of changes to postal savings programs in the Northeast Asian economies of Japan, South Korea, and China. Most notably, all these economies are attempting to reform their traditional postal savings programs to adopt more commercial bank-like models. A number of factors are driving this change, including the large size of accumulated postal savings deposits, political pressure to narrow the income gap between rural and urban regions, and overall financial sector reform. This Asia Focus report is the first of a two-part series discussing recent developments affecting postal savings programs in Japan, South Korea, and China.

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