Financial inclusion

“Everyone needs a bank account.” 

You might expect a bank to say that, but in fact this was a statement from the European Commission in 2013. As European societies and economies move towards relying on virtual money, simple tools such as a payment card and a bank account for receiving income have become essential to daily life. Lack of access to these tools and services, or the inability to use them, is a serious obstacle to economic and social integration. It can stem from problems with access, prices, marketing or financial literacy, or from self-exclusion in response to negative experiences or perceptions.

To address this, the European Commission is bringing forward the Payment Account Directive which needs to be implemented in EU countries by September 2016. Analysts are also increasingly interested in this topic. 

In our home markets, there are statutes that require us to provide basic banking services to all private customers, assuming we have identified the customer as the law requires and have no reason to suspect criminal activity. We also need to train our personnel and raise awareness of the importance of financial inclusion.