In theoretical and empirical terms it has been recognized that financial development is essential for economic growth and poverty reduction. However, it is important to consider that financial development does not necessarily mean that finance is available for all on an equal basis. Empirically access to finance, has received very little attention, despite the emphasis it has received in theory. Additionally, latest studies related with the development role of finance have revealed the need for more empirical knowledge at regional and country case level. This paper briefly reviews recent literature related with the issue of access to finance and its effects on growth and poverty. Additionally, given the economic and social peculiarities of Bolivia, and the need of country case evidence, the relationships finance-growth and finance-poverty are examined for the case of Bolivia, making emphasis in the access dimension of finance. With this purpose, after to present some general characteristics of the Bolivian financial intermediation, cross section data analysis is executed covering data of proxies of access to finance, economic growth, poverty and other control variables for Bolivian municipalities. The main findings suggest that access to finance is an important factor spurring economic growth and poverty reduction in Bolivia. Additionally, the role of microfinance institutions (MFIs) is highlighted in the country, showing the importance of these institutions in the promotion of growth and the poverty alleviation. Among these MFIs, it is worth to stress in the role of nongovernmental organizations and other semiformal institutions. Moreover, the Bolivian experience in terms of microfinance and the evolution of the financial system in two different scenarios (financial repression and financial liberalization) suggests that the role of government in building an effective and inclusive financial system should focus on regulation.