Financial Inclusion and Financial Access
- Julie Birkenmaier, Julie BirkenmaierSaint Louis University
- Mathieu Despard, Mathieu DespardThe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Terri FriedlineTerri FriedlineThe University of Kansas
- and Jin HuangJin HuangSaint Louis University
Financial inclusion, the goal of financial access, broadly refers to the ability of all people in a society to access and be empowered to use safe, affordable, relevant, and convenient financial products and services for achieving their goals. Financial inclusion promotes household and societal financial well-being and requires access to an array of financial products and services such as savings accounts, credit cards, mortgage and small business loans, and small-dollar consumer loans. Despite the advantages, too many individuals and households lack financial inclusion and access by being unbanked, underbanked, and/or they are forced to use alternative financial services. Achieving financial inclusion will require participation from many different types of formal financial institutional actors, such as banks, credit unions, community development financial institutions, and national credit bureaus. Social work assists to build financial inclusion and access through practice innovations, research, and policy advocacy.