Financial Exclusion – Areas for Further Study
Finally, this brief chapter explores some areas, in our opinion, that deserve further attention regarding the study of financial exclusion. It is clear that financial exclusion is rapidly emerging as a ‘hot topic’ in European banking and financial policy areas. At the same time, there is a real and marked paucity of comparative and other kinds of empirical research on this area. Much more work is needed if financial exclusion is to be tackled in a sustained way and if banks are to play strategically a pro-active and value-enhancing role in this process. A fundamental problem in this area is the need for robust and comparable data related to financial exclusion. These data are needed across time and countries. Good research and appropriate policies will be constrained until these data become more available. This has to be a priority, a ‘necessary condition’ for a viable research agenda. At the same time, benchmark standards need to be developed, agreed and carefully monitored. It is only with these in place and fully understood that a more credible analysis of the impact of greater financial inclusion and associated welfare improvements can be evaluated.