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Understanding and Combating Financial Exclusion and Overindebtedness in Ireland: A European Perspective

Blue Paper Abstract

In modern societies like Ireland, every citizen needs to have appropriate access to a current account, a debit card or credit in order to lead a normal life. However, Ireland has the lowest level of access to a current account in Western Europe, some of its population relies on moneylenders to access credit, and an increasing number of borrowers are facing overindebtedness. Therefore, financial inclusion is a key social policy issue for a cohesive Ireland. However, it is an extremely complex one as it requires reconciling the interests of low and moderate income people and banks.

This paper, Understanding and Combating Financial Exclusion and Overindebtedness in Ireland: a European Perspective, looks at how Ireland could promote financial inclusion. It does this by developing an in-depth analysis of the responses implemented in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium. The paper examines their successes and failures in relation to financial exclusion and assesses what policies would be appropriate in an Irish context. The paper sets out guidelines for an appropriate framework to deal with financial exclusion in Ireland by building on its current strengths while also learning from experiences in other European countries. The guidelines address access to basic banking services and affordable credit as well as appropriate responses to overindebtedness.

This paper was launched by Professor Patrick Honohan, Governor of the Central Bank, on Tuesday 18 October 2011.

About the Author

Georges Gloukoviezoff has a PhD in Economics and specialises in financial inclusion and overindebtedness. His work deals with difficulties of access to basic banking services, overindebtedness as well as potential solutions such as basic bank accounts, microcredit and financial regulation. He is a former Visiting Research Fellow at The Policy Institute and has been involved in numerous research projects at national and European level. In 2010 his book on financial exclusion was published in France: "L'exclusion bancaire. Le lien social à l'épreuve de la rentabilité" (Presses Universitaires de France). He is Director of G2 Research (Dublin, Ireland) and member of the board of the National Observatory of Poverty and Social Exclusion (Paris, France).

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Last updated 27 November 2012 .