Thousands of New Zealanders are economically disenfranchised due to legal and other barriers in the banking system, according to new research.
A report commissioned by Westpac Bank examined the barriers to opening a bank account, the impact of not having access to a bank, and who is most affected.
We don’t have figures on how many New Zealanders have found it difficult or impossible to access a bank, but we estimate it could be in the tens of thousands, using a World Bank formula.
Catherine McGrath, Chief Executive Officer of Westpac New Zealand, said the lack of access to banks has serious and significant negative consequences, generally affecting people who are already at their limits. rice field.
“Having a bank account goes beyond receiving payments, storing money, and buying things. In fact, it is one of the basic necessities of modern life.”
The report reveals that the most affected groups are likely to be sleepers, young people without family support, prisoners released from prison, refugees and sex workers.
“Research shows that not having a bank account has serious consequences. It makes it harder to pay for a place to live, keep a job, and pay bills. will remain.”
Among the barriers identified were the lack of identity verification and proof of address required by anti-money laundering regulations, bankruptcy or bankruptcy that could prevent people from having bank accounts, financial and digital literacy, and decision making. fear of, antisocial behavior, and the location of bank branches.
McGrath said a more flexible approach to the issue is needed, requiring the participation of the banking sector, government agencies, communities and social groups.
Westpac has released information on inmates nearing release, young people under Oranga Tamariki supervision, groups working with domestic violence and victims of domestic violence, simplified “how to bank” information, and branch offices. She said she is working with Corrections to improve access and treatment in
“We are hearing clearly that there is room for the industry to be more welcoming of our branch and that our processes are more understandable and accessible, and that we are willing to do so. [provide] Bank [services to] Some applicants are more open-minded. ”
However, McGrath said he was pleased with the size and scope of Westpac’s branch network.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/487365/banking-system-may-financially-disenfranchise-thousands-of-new-zealanders-study-shows Banking system could financially disenfranchise thousands of New Zealanders research shows