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Banks can no longer ignore financial inclusion

This week the Treasury Committee published its report on consumer access to financial services, warning that banks can no longer ignore financial inclusion.

Chair of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Ellie Southwood, had the opportunity to give evidence to the Committee, highlighting that financial inclusion is about independence, protection from financial abuse, and confidence.

There is still a long way to go for people with sight loss to be fully included in financial services. At RNIB we are focused on the need for all information to be provided in a format that blind or partially sighted people can read. Everyone has the right to conduct their financial transactions independently, whether that is getting money out of a cash machine or paying in a restaurant.

The recent introduction of new bank notes with distinguishing tactile and visual features is a great example of how things can be made accessible when blind and partially sighted people are involved with innovations from the outset.

We are pleased that this Treasury report has raised the profile of financial inclusion and we’re calling on banks to step up to the challenge of ensuring that financial services are accessible to everyone.

As the report concluded - access to financial services is fundamental and it is unacceptable for blind and partially sighted people to be left behind. Financial inclusion matters to everybody, not just the disadvantaged or vulnerable.