Financial inclusion, as well as financial education and prevention of overindebtedness, are recognized as issues of great importance that have notbeen sufficiently studied both in Europe and Spain. There is a lack of regulation at European level regarding the right of all citizens to haveaccess to basic financial services and to guarantee the use of a basic paying account. This is a cause for concern for the EuropeanCommission, as these are risk factors for social exclusion. In fact, among the developed economies, it is in countries like the United Kingdom andthe United States where the financial exclusion has been more deeply studied, as response to critical changes in their banking systems duringthe 80’s that affected socially-oriented banking models.
It is important to revise and study the situation of financial exclusion in Europe at a moment of important transformation of the national bankingsystems, and especially in Spain, where the restructuring process is very important. It involves reviewing the few previous studies about this issuein Spain, determining the ongoing levels and features of financial exclusion, and establishing a base of measure for its future evolution.In addition, it is also relevant to analyse the role and expectations in this process of the different kinds of retail commercial banks in Spain,and particularly of the socially-oriented models such as savings banks and cooperative banks, as their foundational principles address financialinclusion of disadvantaged people and rural areas.
Click here to read the complete essay of Ms Fernandez Olit (Savings Banks Academic Award Winner 2012)
FERNANDEZ OLIT (Beatriz) (2012). Financial Inclusion in Spain: A comparative study among banks, savings banks and cooperative banks, ESBG Perspectives n°65, 118 pp.