What financial inclusion means to me?
This week was a big week. We launched LOQBOX – our new financial inclusion journey. So you would be forgiven for expecting my first blog to be about LOQBOX. It isn’t. My first blog is actually about something much more important – financial inclusion. Or, to be more precise: the need to end financial exclusion. Because it is the social fallout and other issues arising from financial exclusion that is driving positive change towards financial inclusion.
Financial inclusion is a buzz word in UK financial commentary and politics. It describes a utopian ideal. In this ideal, everyone has access to a financial system that provides the right product or service, at the right time, for the right price to the right people. It’s this dream that is at the heart of LOQBOX and a swathe of other new products and services born of the Fintech revolution.
So what does financial inclusion mean to me?
Financial inclusion is a goal shared by all of us at LOQBOX and anyone who has been blocked from the financial system as well as numerous commentators, non-governmental organisations, politicians and socially aware companies. This goal will be achieved when we have ended financial exclusion.
Financial exclusion can be roughly broken down into two categories:
- Banking exclusion
- Credit exclusion
Broadly speaking, banking exclusion relates to an individual’s inability to access a basic bank account, and thus their ability to transact through that bank account with a consequent lack of access to products and services that use bank accounts as one of their entry-level requirements.
Credit exclusion can happen independently of banking exclusion. Credit exclusion is a relatively recent problem. As more products and services require a credit check before they can be accessed, a growing group of credit-excluded individuals have come to exist. These credit-excluded individuals have limited access to certain goods or services that the financially included may take for granted or such access is granted at a premium cost.
I believe that we will end financial exclusion by providing:
- Financial education for all
- Financial products built with inclusion at their core
And for the first time in history there seems to be a real willingness from all the different interests to try and achieve this. Never before has there been such a unified drive by Government, Politicians, Regulators, Educators, Commentators, Non-Governmental Organisations, Incumbent Companies and Fintech Disruptors to address these two needs. Financial inclusion is still a dream for many. But right now, those with the power to change the system are all reading from the same page and starting to drive change.
As I sit writing this, small Fintech companies and large financial institutions alike are seizing this opportunity with both hands, beginning to trust each other and work together as they never have before. The result is the emergence of exciting, innovative products, services and solutions driving towards the goal of a fully inclusive financial system where everyone gets a fair go. That’s our dream. And LOQBOX is our contribution.
Until next time.