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In Peru, unlike in most other parts of the world, gripes among borrowers about miserly lenders are as thin as the Andean air. Local-currency loans to the private sector reached an all-time high recently. The share of non-performing loans is manageable. Deposits are growing strongly.

But for all the progress the country’s banks have made in recent years, few Peruvians use basic financial services. A new bill that requires government bodies and state-owned firms to pay wages via bank accounts, instead of cash handouts, should give the financial sector a further boost. But Peru’s 15 commercial banks may not reap all of the benefits, as they face still competition from a vibrant microfinance industry.

Read more at Financial Services Briefing: “A mountain to climb” (January 5th)