This text is concerned with the increasingly important and problematic area of financial exclusion, broadly defined as the inability and/or reluctance of particular societal groups to access mainstream financial services. This has emerged as a major policy concern in the US and the UK. The case of these two countries is particularly interesting since these have the most strongly market-orientated financial systems in the world, and as such they provide a good ‘laboratory’ of the likely development path of financial exclusion, together with some possible policy solutions (by government, other interest groups and the financial services sector) in other deregulating financial sectors.
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