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Financial Inclusion: What matters now is action

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From education to access, the new Financial Conduct Authority paper on Access to Finance has important news for banks and insurers

On 24 May I attended the launch of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Occasional Paper 17 on Access to Finance on behalf of Capco. The paper signals an important evolution in the perception of Financial Inclusion amongst banks and insurers. Critically, Financial Inclusion is taking a firm place on the senior management agenda, alongside consumer vulnerability, ageing and a fairer market.

Below are the key points from the launch event:

  1. Any of us can be financially excluded at some point or in some aspects of our lives.
  2. Consumers need to have access to the right products with useful features and easy-to-understand functionality.
  3. There is work to be done to eliminate the poverty premium that sees the least advantaged in society paying the most for basic financial services.
  4. Technology is both an enabler and a disabler of Financial Inclusion. Its fast pace and the changes it provokes can exclude some consumers from mainstream financial services.
  5. Financial Inclusion can be the first step towards meaningful employment, decent housing and basic self-respect. Nobody should be left behind.
  6. We need to boost financial education, particularly for younger people, and basic IT skills, particularly for older people. Knowledge of how to use basic financial products – bank accounts, insurance, responsible credit – is a life-skill and should be taught as such.
  7. Banks don’t always treat retail customers as individuals, with individual needs. Regulations introduced with the best of intentions, such as anti-money laundering rules or mandatory creditworthiness checks, often inhibit providers in offering flexibility where it is required.

It was clear to all event participants that awareness of and genuine interest in the causes and consequences of financial exclusion are widespread throughout the financial services community. However, as a nation, we still have some way to go in making sure that all sections of society can benefit from financial services. What matters most now is action.

Capco is developing practical measures financial institutions need to take to identify and respond to the needs of financially excluded customers. Look out for our thought leadership paper on Financial Inclusion, due for publication in early June.

 
 
 
 
 
 

About the Author

howard taylor

Howard Taylor is a Senior Consultant with the FRC practice at Capco. He has extensive experience in the post-crisis regulatory environment, having worked on both s166 engagements ‎as part of the skilled person team and in-house at a Tier 1 UK bank. Howard is also a trustee of a financial inclusion charity.

 
 

The content and opinions posted on this blog and any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not those of Capco or FIS.