Financial Inclusion

Financial Inclusion

Helping UK households most at risk

In 2014 Lloyds Banking Group launched its Helping Britain Prosper plan to help address some of the big issues facing Britain today.  One of our seven key commitments is to take a lead in financial inclusion.

Examples of how we are striving to achieve this include: providing a quarter of all UK basic bank accounts ; providing  funding to Credit Unions of £4m over four years through our Credit Union Development Fund; and delivering financial education to community support workers through Money for Life.

Facing up to emerging issues

Access to financial services and their effective use play a central role in individuals', households’ and society’s well-being.

Financial inclusion is a state where everyone is able to access the products and services they need to manage their money effectively and to have the necessary awareness and understanding to use them appropriately.

Customers at risk of financial exclusion may include those on low incomes, the elderly or those with disabilities or long-term illness. A person may move from inclusion to exclusion at different times in their lives due to a change in their circumstances. Factors such as bereavement, mental health and change in employment status can have an impact, so too can  external factors such as a rise in interest rates leading to higher monthly mortgage repayments which a person may be unable to meet..

The new Universal Credit welfare system, currently rolling out, will impact on how our customers budget and manage their finances. We want to support them through this change.

Building on solid foundations

We have already done a great deal to support financial inclusion in Britain.

In January 2013 we established a Financial Inclusion Steering Group to strengthen our corporate commitment, led by a member of our Group Executive Committee. This enables us to more fully promote and drive our objectives across the Group.

The Steering Group has established five themes on which all our activity is based:
- Accessible Products and Services

- Supporting customers in financial difficulty
- Partnerships and signposting
- Culture and capability
- Financial education

Our progress and strategy is further enhanced by an Advisory Group of external stakeholders who meet bi-annually to help us keep up to date with the real effects of financial exclusion in communities. They also help us to identify and prioritise the key issues we want to address.

In January 2015 we sponsored a Financial Inclusion Conference – a landmark event attended by businesses, government, charities, regulators and others, all of whom share a commitment to tackle financial exclusion in partnership.

Best bank for all customers

Being the UK’s largest retail bank we have great potential to reach out to, and support, customers who are financially excluded or at risk of becoming excluded.

All colleagues will receive financial inclusion training to enable them to better support customers; we’re currently making improvements to the service that our basic bank account customers receive and we have also established a central financial inclusion team to drive the financial inclusion strategy throughout the Group.

Our award-winning financial education programme, Money for Life, continues to equip hundreds of not-for-profit organisations across the UK with the skills and knowledge they need to help people in their communities make the most of their money.

Best bank for all customers

Helping our customers prosper

Our approach to financial inclusion ensures that we are fully committed at all levels within the Group, and that all colleagues across the UK play a part in supporting our financial inclusion strategy wherever they work.

Digital technology also offers an important opportunity to make financial services more accessible.  Today 1 in 5 adults and 31% of charities and small businesses do not have basic online skills. Increasing digital capability is one of the most important factors that will drive financial inclusion over the coming years so we aim to use our expertise and reach to promote wider understanding and access.

Lloyds Banking Group has set out its objective to become the Best Bank for Customers.  To be the ‘best’ we want to help all customers. We want to re-build trust in our brands and trust in our economic and social purpose. And our Financial Inclusion strategy is right at the heart of those efforts.

Footnotes
  1. DWP insight study on personal budgeting

  2. DWP insight study on personal budgeting

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