- Credit supplied by the banking sector is the most important funding source for firms and households in Latin America and the Caribbean. Unfortunately, credit is scarce, costly and volatile. Without deep and stable credit markets, the region will be hard pressed to achieve high and sustainable growth rates and combat poverty. Given the importance of banking to growth and prosperity, the Inter-American Development Bank has made this sector the focus of its 2005 Report on Economic and Social Progress in Latin America. The Report analyzes the three main characteristics of bank credit--scarcity, expense and volatility--and makes policy recommendations.