Given the complex causes of financial inequality and exclusion, EFR members believe that there is scope for increased action to make the Europe financially more inclusive, including through public-private cooperation. EFR member companies have taken many initiatives to promote financial inclusion and increase financial literacy in their respective communities. However, while the financial services sector has a role to play in financial inclusion, we believe there is a public responsibility to address social and educational issues, with banks and insurers contributing as much as they can. In particular, some actions that may be envisaged, may need additional public funding. To enable banks and insurers to become fully successful in contributing towards financial equality, and serve European customers in an optimum manner, the following policy actions are recommended:
- Ensure that financial and digital education starts early on and reaches all members of society.
- Incentivise firms to take action in the area of financial inclusion as part of their sustainability efforts.
- Promote and facilitate financial innovation.
- The European Commission and Member States as well as other European governments should promote public-private cooperation in combatting financial inequality and exclusion.
- In order to protect consumers and also to support social inclusion, certain measures should be required.
- The European Commission and European governments should foster best-practice sharing and cooperation among firms, also across regions and sectors.
- EU co-funded Member States’ initiatives in the areas of social rights, employment and education should integrate measures to reduce financial inequality and exclusion.