Immigrants and Financial Services: Literacy, Difficulty of Access, Needs and Solutions - The UK Experience

Is the financial services' market in Britain ignoring the immigrants?
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This paper discusses various aspects of the relationship between immigrants and financial services in Britain, focusing especially on literacy, difficulty of access, needs and solutions. The paper discusses:

  • The history of immigration in the country;
  • The differences between non-white ethnic minority groups and the white population in terms of:
    • Concentration in geographical areas;
    • Household size;
    • Housing tenure.
  • The reasons for social exclusion in access to financial services, which consist of:
    • Social and economic factors;
    • Changes in financial services.
  • The financial services needs of ethnic minorities, which include:
    • Personal financial services;
    • Business financial services.

The paper then lists the following examples of good practice:

  • Street Creed - a microfinance project for poor ethnically minority women;
  • Toynbee Hall - an institute that develops practical and innovative solutions for social problems;
  • Muslim Loan Fund, East London Small Business Center.

The paper concludes that:

  • There are close links between social and financial exclusion;
  • Financial literary education is very essential; such education should be tailored to the specific needs of particular groups;
  • There is a need to develop:
    • A presence in community centers and places of worship of target communities,
    • Appropriate financial products that meet the needs of people from different ethnic minority groups.
  • Financial initiatives should be built on social and cultural capital;
  • Financial sector development should take place within the broader context of social development.

About this Publication

By Pilley, C.