It’s Talk Money Week this week – a week designed to break the taboo of talking about money and improve people’s financial wellbeing. We’ve asked the Fair4All Finance team to share their thoughts throughout the week on ‘if you could do one thing…’ to improve financial inclusion.
Today we hear from our CEO, Sacha Romanovitch OBE.
We need to talk about financial inclusion
The theme for Talk Money Week this year is Do One Thing – so what one thing can we all do to improve financial inclusion this week?
I’d love for the answer to be straightforward and simple. However there are at least 17.5m reasons why it’s not. That’s the number of people in financially vulnerable circumstances in the UK right now.
We know the financial services system works well for people with predictable lives and incomes. Yet more and more people have insecure jobs and unsteady incomes. Millions of people are financially excluded – unable to access safety nets others rely on like affordable credit, insurance and savings:
- One in three adults struggle to access credit from mainstream lenders
- One in four households in the UK have no home contents insurance
- Almost 14m people across the UK have less than £100 in savings
We also know the difference access to fair and affordable financial products can make. They help people smooth their incomes and meet unexpected costs, providing a steppingstone to financial resilience.
This means people can avoid harmful alternatives, lead richer lives and participate fully in their communities. All of which benefits society and boosts the economy:
- £16.68 social value generated from every £1 lent by our investee Fair for You
- £36.3m in unclaimed benefits identified for their customers in 2023 by our investee Salad Money
- 80% of members from a group of Merseyside credit unions reported experiencing less anxiety and a greater sense of control over their finances
Working together to make a difference
One of the privileges of our work at Fair4All Finance is that we get to collaborate with brilliant people and organisations across the financial services and social sectors, who are equally committed to making a difference.
And we know it will take the combined skills of the whole industry, government and regulators to change the financial system so that the market provides everyone with access to the right products and services, whenever they need them.
Our role is as a catalyst. We’ve worked with the sector to create a shared Financial Inclusion Plan to tackle financial exclusion head on. The plan identifies the issues and maps out collective actions needed to boost inclusion.
If you could just do one thing
So back to my opening question – what one thing can we all do to improve financial inclusion this week?
Well, we can all work together and play our part in delivering the Financial Inclusion Plan. It’s very much a plan for the sector, owned by the sector, that’s been drawn up based on input from over 100 organisations working in this area. There is action for everyone, whether that’s mainstream finance, the community finance sector, third sector organisations or government and regulators. And of course Fair4All Finance too.
We all have a role in tackling financial exclusion. If everyone in financial services considers how they play their part and commits to action, we can make it possible for every family to have access to the right financial products and services to improve their financial resilience.
Together our series of one things has the power to create one big thing – a fairer financial services system that transforms the lives of millions of people. Now that’s what I’m talking about!