Jing Zhang

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us… in short, the period was so far like the present period….

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, Book the First

With 15 chapters contributed by more than 20 experts, this book covers a lot of ground. Yet, more remains to be said, mostly because of the subject’s expansive nature and the critical importance of credit in our lives in this historic period of widespread change. This is not hyperbole – it is the best of times, and it is the worst of times. Optimists can point to how much we have achieved with the availability of, and access to, credit worldwide, enabled largely by advancements in technology and innovations powered by human ingenuity. For example, M-Pesa (“M” for mobile, “pesa” is Swahili for “money”) is a mobile-phone-based money transfer and financing service, first launched in Kenya and Tanzania in 2007, with subsequent

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