Asia Focus

These reports from the Asia Program provide context and insight into current economic and financial sector developments in the Asia-Pacific region.

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How Digital Innovation Can Increase Small Business Access to Finance in Asia

Sean Creehan
March 26, 2018

This Asia Focus summarizes the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) credit gap in Asia and assesses ways certain emerging technologies and innovative business models—commonly known as “fintech”—can improve SME access to financial services in Asia and boost long-term economic growth in the process.


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Asia’s Fintech Revolution

Sean Creehan and Nicholas Borst
February 27, 2017

This Asia Focus examines the impact of fintech on payments and lending in Asia, focusing on the new technologies entering the market, the level of disruption faced by banks, and the regulatory response to these new developments.


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The Changing Face of Shadow Banking in China

Cindy Li
December 27, 2016

This Asia Focus explores the drivers behind shadow banking system’s growth in China, reviews the changing pattern of shadow banking activities, analyzes associated risks in the context of China’s growing capital markets, and discusses future regulatory challenges.

Taiwan’s Banking Sector Reforms: Retrospective and Outlook

Nicholas Borst and Cindy Li
May 20, 2016

This Asia Focus outlines the history of financial and banking reforms in Taiwan, analyzes problems that developed in the banking sector after liberalization, and evaluates current initiatives by regulators to address those problems.

Modernizing the Payment System to Increase Financial Inclusion in India

Sean Creehan
March 31, 2016

This Asia Focus reviews the role non-cash payments can play in India’s financial inclusion efforts, summarizes recent government policies to develop a national payment system that includes the unbanked, and assesses the challenges and implications of ongoing reforms.


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Balancing the State and the Market: Banking Reform in China and Vietnam

Nicholas Borst
September 3, 2015

This Asia Focus examines similarities in the process of banking reform in China and Vietnam, analyzes how both countries have dealt with financial crises, and draws lessons from their shared experiences that may be useful for other countries undertaking financial reforms.

Burma – Paving the Road to a Modern Banking System

Linda True
June 24, 2015

This Asia Focus report provides a historical background of Burmese banking crises, analyzes recent and upcoming regulatory reforms, and evaluates hurdles to the development of a modern banking system.

The Rise of Asian Sovereign Wealth Funds

Nicholas Borst
March 5, 2015

This Asia Focus provides an overview of sovereign wealth funds, evaluates the structure and activities of major funds in Asia, and compares the transparency of Asian funds relative to international best practices.


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Priority Sector Lending in Asia

Sean Creehan
September 15, 2014

This Asia Focus discusses Asia’s experience with priority sector lending, reviews the current state-level priority sector lending policies in several Asian economies, assesses the implications for the respective domestic banking systems, and examines potential alternative mechanisms to encourage lending to priority sectors.

China’s Interest Rate Liberalization Reform

Cindy Li
May 12, 2014

This Asia Focus report explains the importance of interest rate liberalization in China, reviews historical progress and current efforts made to date, and discusses the potential impact on the banking sector.


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Mobile Payments in Asia

Samia Y. Husain
November 18, 2013

This Asia Focus report explores the use of m-payments in Asia and evaluates the challenges it faces regarding wider adoption. Specifically, this report clarifies what an m-payment is, identifies which factors are facilitating and hindering the use of m-payments by consumers in certain economies of Asia, and summarizes key issues this new payment technology presents to government regulators.


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Implementation of Anti-Money Laundering Standards in Asia

Susan Desai
November 19, 2012

Global money laundering and terrorist financing activities impose significant costs on the world economy by damaging the effective operations of national economies. This Asia Focus report reviews some of the unique factors that contribute to money laundering in Asia, describes international AML/CFT standards, analyzes the region’s progress towards fuller compliance with FATF recommendations, and outlines challenges that remain.

Challenges in Global Finance: The Role of Asia

Linda True
September 1, 2012

On June 11-12, 2012, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (FRBSF) held its fifth Conference on Asian Banking and Finance in San Francisco, entitled “Challenges in Global Finance: The Role of Asia.” Conference participants discussed how the ongoing economic and financial uncertainties in Europe will impact the Asian economies, banking sectors and trade flows; and how Asian banks and financial institutions themselves are addressing these issues.

Banking in the Clouds

Samia Y. Husain
July 1, 2012

Banks in Asia are looking into the opportunities, and risks, that cloud computing can bring to their industry as they expand domestically and regionally.

Accounting Regulatory Architecture in Asia

Walter Yao and Linda True
April 1, 2012

Accounting regulatory regimes play a critical role in ensuring the reliability of financial data and the credibility of a company, and ultimately in supporting the stability of an economy. Prompted in part by the U.S. actions taken pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, many Asian economies have established similar regulatory bodies and standards for their domestic accounting industry.


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