Growth through financial inclusion

A roadmap for UK banks

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were an estimated 12 million people living in the UK with less than £300 in their bank account, while 4 million people in paid work were living in poverty. As we enter 2021, the nation has suffered the greatest financial shock in over a decade, and the economy has shrunk. The pandemic has worsened financial exclusion; even people who previously felt financially secure have found themselves on the brink or in financial crisis.

Financial inclusion is a concern for approximately half of UK banking customers, with 45% saying their wellbeing has been negatively impacted due to financial concerns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened a situation that was previously affecting millions of people in the UK. As a result of the crisis, even more people are suffering poor financial wellbeing and previously comfortable groups are falling into financial difficulty - with many finding that they are not able to access the financial products and services they need to get their lives back on track.

We believe that now is a critical time for banks to prioritise financial inclusion to better serve their customers and support those left behind by our current financial system. There is an opportunity for banks to attract and retain customers by demonstrating their commitment to social impact; since the pandemic over 2/3 UK bank customers say they are more likely to choose a bank with a positive social and environmental impact.

Within this report we explain the complex nature of financial inclusion, the wide-ranging barriers, and the impact of COVID-19. We reflect on the key challenges, and identify the opportunities for banks to grow through positive impact.

Explore our financial inclusion initiatives and insights

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