Services many can't bank on

Tuesday, 24 May 2011  Features

One in seven Australian adults are either fully or severely excluded from accessing basic financial services, according to new research conducted by the Cent​re for Social Impact (CSI) at the Australian School of Business and the National Australia Bank .

The NAB/CSI Financial Exclusion Indicator reveals, for the first time, the significant number of people who lack access to basic financial services, such as a transaction account or a small personal loan, leaving them susceptible to predatory lending practices.

CSI Director Professor Peter Shergold said the Indicator was the largest study of its kind and a very important piece of research.

"It's the first time Australia has been able to measure and understand the full dimensions of financial exclusion. It will guide public policy and influence corporate practice," said Professor Shergold.

The study also found that 2.65 million Australian adults would have difficulty raising $3,000 in an emergency.

CSI lead author and researcher Chris Connolly said financial exclusion has significant day to day impacts for those affected.

"People who are financially excluded are more likely to turn to fringe or unregulated lenders who compound the problem, and are also far more likely to experience social exclusion and financial stress as a result," Mr Connolly said.

Read the report