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Colombian bank branch network concentrated in most populated departments

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Colombian bank branch network concentrated in most populated departments

Reflecting a governmental push to improve financial inclusion,Colombia has among the levels of bank branches per capita in the world, with more than 256 branchesper 100,000 adults as of 2014.

However, that data, provided by the IMF, can be misleadingbecause countries have different criteria for measuring the number of bank branches.Some countries include banking agents in their counts and, depending on nationalregulations, some, such as Colombia, include the offices or agents of nonbank lenders.

It is mainly such banking agents that have driven upColombia's total branch count figures. According to Asobancaria, banking agentsoutnumbered traditional branches by more than a 15-to-1 margin as of 2014.

The large number of banking agents and nonbank lendersthroughout the country highlight the lack of traditional bank branches in much ofColombia, as SNL data shows below. Most bank branches are heavily concentrated inthe three most populated departments in the country, namely, Bogota, Antioquia andValle del Cauca. Colombia's other departments have drastically fewer branches, whiletwo — Guainía and Vaupés— have none, according to SNL bank branch data.

Both Guainía and Vaupés are bound by the Amazon jungleand some rough terrain. These two departments are mainly populated by Colombia'sindigenous groups.

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Click here to view country level information for Colombia.

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