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Number of households without bank accounts cut by half

Number of households without bank accounts cut by half

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 20 October 2009

The Government and the Financial Inclusion Taskforce are pleased to announce today that the shared goal to halve the number of adults living in households without access to a bank account has been achieved.

The shared goal was agreed in December 2004 between the Government and the banks. The latest report on access to banking by the Financial Inclusion Taskforce shows that the number has fallen from 2 million in 2003/04 to less than 900,000 in 2007/08.

Sarah McCarthy-Fry, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury said:

“We welcome the announcement that this very important goal has now been achieved. The shared goal is a great example of government, industry and third sector partners working together to ensure that everyone can access the financial services they need to get by day-to-day.”

Brian Pomeroy, chair of the Financial Inclusion Taskforce said:

“This is extremely good news and it means that many more people can now use transactional banking to make and receive payments as well as holding their money in a secure and accessible way. It is important that these gains are not lost and the Taskforce has called on Government, the banks and the FSA to ensure that the standards of service in bank branches are upheld and scrutinised. And we must not lose sight of the possibilities for making further inroads into the number of people who are unbanked.”

Notes to Editors

1. Financial inclusion is the Government’s policy to ensure that everyone has access to appropriate financial services, enabling them to:

· manage their money on a day-to-day basis, effectively, securely and confidently;

· plan for the future and cope with financial pressure, by managing their families to protect against short-term variations in income and expenditure, and to take advantage of longer-term opportunities; and

· deal effectively with financial distress, should unexpected events lead to serious financial difficult

2. The Government set out its programme to deliver financial inclusion in financial inclusion: an action plan for 2008-11 published in December 2007 and available here:

3. The Financial Inclusion Taskforce’s fourth annual report on access to banking can be found here:

4. Today the Taskforce has also published research on access to insurance, which can be found here:

5. The Financial Inclusion Taskforce was established by HM Treasury in April 2005 and it’s terms of reference extend to 2011. The Taskforce’s remit covers the Government’s strategic priorities to improve access to banking, affordable credit, free face-to-face money advice, savings and insurance. The Taskforce also advises on stimulating demand for financial services among hard-to-reach groups.

6. Taskforce members draw on experience from the private, public, charitable and academic sectors. The Taskforce is chaired by Brian Pomeroy, who is also the Chair of the Payments Council and the Gambling Commission.

7. The full Taskforce meets at least five times a year. The Taskforce also has a number of subgroups and working groups which consider specific areas of financial inclusion policy. Minutes of Taskforce meetings and other papers and research are available at the Taskforce’s website;

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