Scotland’s banking sector has agreed on a plan to ensure every Scot is offered a basic bank account.
The agreement is part of “Scotland’s new vision for financial services: a sector growth strategy using our technology and ecosystem advantage” developed by Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE).
SFE, the member body for financial and related professional services in Scotland, aims to increase the value of financial services to Scotland’s economy by £7 billion over the next five years.
SFE said it will work with its banking and fintech members, Financial Inclusion for Scotland, and the FCA to help improve access to basic financial services, such as bank accounts, for people who might currently be excluded from the banking system.
It is estimated as many as 100,000 people in Scotland – and more than a million across the UK – do
not have a bank account, with vulnerable groups like homeless people, refugees, and ethnic and
religious minority groups often more likely to lack access.
The new sector growth strategy outlines how innovations in fintech, data and artificial intelligence could help make access to banking services more inclusive.
SFE has also pledged to help further improve financial literacy and access to affordable credit.
SFE CEO Sandy Begbie said: “Greater financial inclusion is essential if we want to have a stronger, fairer and more inclusive economy.
“Scotland’s world-class financial services industry is determined to show leadership on this issue, and ensuring every Scot has been offered access to a basic bank account is a good place to start.
“By working Scotland’s vibrant banking and fintech sectors, and harnessing developments in data and artificial intelligence, we can make sure more people have access to a bank account and no one is excluded from the system.
“This is part of our wider Sector Growth Strategy that outlines how financial services can deliver
sustainable, inclusive economic growth for Scotland, and we are determined to make sure that every
person in Scotland feels the benefits.”