An interesting new report on “financial access” from the World Bank is well worth a read. This is the second annual edition of the research, so tracking countries’ progress on bringing financial services to more of their citizens is possible for the first time. Globally, the number of deposit accounts per capita grew by 4.3% in 2009, with the relatively underbanked regions of Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa showing the biggest increases.

The country-level data is a treasure trove of financial trivia, including the following tidbits sure to make you a hit at your next cocktail party:

  1. Which country has the most commercial bank accounts per capita? The most automated teller machines?
  2. As measured by complaints per person to financial ombudsmen, where are the most disgruntled bank customers?
  3. What do bank customers in Namibia, Norway and Hungary have in common?

1. Japan (7,172 bank accounts per 1,000 adults) and Canada (218 ATMs per 100,000 adults); 2. Portugal; 3. The most common complaint about their banks relates to poor financial advice