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Why FinTech Collaborations Are Essential for Solving the Challenge of Financial Inclusion

By Tynah Matembe, Founder of FinTech Company MoneyMatiX

In my view the new Government must finally prioritise financial inclusion for all segments of society, including people of colour and marginalised groups, as millions of people continue being left behind and significant injustices and disparities in financial wellness for people of colour persist.

The time has come for radical measures that tangibly involve us in critical discussions to drive economic well-being for every UK citizen and I am calling for government to collaborate with pioneering FinTech companies to ensure radical innovations that can improve financial inclusion and access. Anchor commitment is a must and FinTech can be leveraged as a force to remove traditional barriers, enables real-time Financial Inclusion, and promote economic resilience across all communities.

We have suffered ridicule, oppression, and systematic denial of financial opportunities for too long in an untenable, degrading structure designed to enslave and maintain an oppressive class structure which leaves People of Colour at the bottom of society, like colonial Britain. The next term must prioritise dismantling the staggering disparities that plague the UK’s financial system in a critical bid to safeguard fair and stable economic growth for the UK.

Why the Election ignored Financial Inclusion

I can’t say I have been surprised that financial inclusion was not addressed in the electioneering.
I believe that there are 4-reasons why financial inclusion was not a ‘hot’ electioneering topic.
Firstly, Politicians might think that financial inclusion is already being adequately addressed through existing policies and programmes, or that it is an issue being handled by financial institutions and regulatory bodies rather than needing direct political intervention – unfortunately, this is not the reality for people of colour. For the last 14 years sadly, the issue has been side-lined. Secondly, the various parties’ political agendas are often driven by the most pressing concerns of their constituents. Issues like the economy, NHS, immigration, national security, and social justice tend to dominate political discourse because they directly affect a large portion of the population and are easier to rally support around.

Thirdly, don’t underestimate the influence of banks and other financial institutions. They can exert significant influence on political agendas and their interests might not always align with aggressive pushes for financial inclusion, especially if it involves regulatory changes that could affect their business models. Lastly, the cost-of-living crisis and the economic turmoil we have experienced in the last 12 months can shift the focus of the political agenda. During times of economic downturn, political discussions often centre around relief and recovery measures rather than long-term initiatives like financial inclusion. I fully intend to lobby the New Government and do what I can to make sure in the
next parliament financial inclusion is taken more seriously and by the time of the next election, it will become one of the critical issues on the agenda – rather than it being simply ignored. FinTech lies at the heart of any solution.

Defining Financial Inclusion

I define it as providing access to affordable, convenient, and appropriate financial services to all individuals and businesses, regardless of their differences. It is the guarantee that every person has access to affordable and essential financial services—bank accounts, loans, insurance, and investment opportunities. It means breaking down the barriers that prevent marginalised groups from participating fully in the economy.

The Role of FinTech
FinTech must lead the way if we are to have a more equitable society where
everyone is financially included. FinTech has taken centre stage in the financial inclusion industry. Many believe that low cost, far-reaching digital solutions hold the key to reach out to the 1.7 billion
people worldwide who are still excluded from formal financial services. Embracing fintech solutions enables businesses and consumers alike to access a wide range of financial services, enhance financial literacy, and improve overall financial well-being. In an increasingly digital world, financial inclusion has emerged as a critical goal to ensure that everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status, has access to essential financial services. Traditional financial systems have often excluded large segments of the global population due to barriers such as geographic constraints, high costs, and lack of formal identification. FinTech has emerged as a powerful force in bridging this gap and promoting financial inclusion. FinTech has changed the financial services business, as we have seen in recent years. Innovative solutions from FinTech companies have revolutionised traditional banking and finance by improving accessibility, streamlining procedures, and democratising financial services for both individuals and enterprises.

FinTech’s capacity to empower customers by giving them more financial autonomy is one of its most important effects. FinTech solutions, which range from investment platforms to mobile payment apps, provide ease, transparency, and flexibility to help people manage their money more wisely and make educated financial decisions. By utilising digital technologies to reach new markets, FinTech has also increased underserved people’ access to financial services, such as the unbanked and
underbanked. As technology advances and consumer expectations evolve, the FinTech industry will
remain at the forefront of innovation, shaping the future of finance and transforming the way we interact with money. I want the new Government to collaborate more closely with FinTech companies to
map out a new solution to the challenge of financial inclusion.

My thinking
In the absence of and reference to financial inclusion in the electioneering I produced my own manifesto which exposes the shocking realities of financial exclusion. I am writing this from my first-hand experience as a first-generation migrant and the expertise I have gained working at the UK grassroots across Financial Services, the United Nations and Corporate Law for nearly two decades. I am also a seasoned entrepreneur of colour who has faced a lot of barriers on my journey to solving the UK Financial Literacy gap for the past six years. My Manifesto proposes actionable solutions to ensure everyone in the UK can access essential financial services. Financial exclusion is a crisis affecting millions of people, locking them out of the financial systems that should support them. This exclusion perpetuates cycles of poverty, limits economic growth, and destabilises communities.
What’s inside the manifesto?

 Innovative diversity metrics: Find out how we’re redefining financial diversity to include everyone.
 National Framework for Financial Inclusion: Discover our strategic actions to create a cohesive framework that supports financial inclusion across the country.
 A Community Empowerment Programme: A proposed tailored programme to address systemic barriers while enabling communities and allies.

By reading my manifesto, you will gain valuable insights into:
 The current state of financial exclusion in the UK and its impact.
 Strategic actions and practical solutions that can drive transformational change.

 How can you help promote an inclusive financial environment in your community?

Why should you download the manifesto? Because it will allow you to
 Stay informed: Arm yourself with the latest strategies and evidence on tackling financial exclusion.
 Get inspired: Learn about the innovative approaches that will make a difference if taken to scale.
 Act: Be part of the movement towards a more inclusive and equitable financial future.

I believe I have come up with eight game-changing recommendations the next government can adopt to ensure every citizen can access essential financial services. The recommendations aim to:

  1. Improve Financial Literacy: Equip individuals with the knowledge to make
    informed financial decisions.
  2. Enhance Access to Banking Services: Ensure everyone can access basic
    banking facilities regardless of socio-economic status.
  3. Promote Fair Lending Practices: Protect consumers from predatory lending
    and ensure fair access to credit.
  4. Support Digital Inclusion: Bridge the digital divide, enabling everyone to
    benefit from online financial services.
  5. Strengthen Consumer Protection: Enhance safeguards to protect individuals
    from financial fraud and exploitation.
  6. Encourage Inclusive Fintech Innovation: Foster technological
    advancements catering to underserved populations’ needs.
  7. Boost Financial Health: Promote savings and investment opportunities that
    build long-term financial stability.
  8. Facilitate Collaborative Efforts: Encourage partnerships between government,
    private sector, and community organisations to tackle financial exclusion

Final thought

Let’s build a better financial future, one step at a time. Because inclusive financial education isn’t just an aspiration; it’s a necessity. Financial inclusion is a fundamental human right that must be a major election issue in dealing with Britain’s economic challenges. Implementing focused policies, infrastructure investment, and financial literacy promotion is not a luxury but a must.

The financial exclusion of People of Colour is a stain on our society and a massive economic blunder. The time for empty promises and superficial changes is over. We demand genuine, impactful actions to dismantle the financial apartheid and pave the way for a truly inclusive economy. Government, the ball is in your court. Together, we can dismantle the hidden financial apartheid and build a fairer, stronger UK. Come and talk to the FinTech industry now – we have the creativity and innovation to help you deliver on financial inclusion. Overall, fintech’s potential to democratise financial services is unparalleled, providing a robust framework to uplift economically marginalised communities, drive economic growth, and contribute to the overall goal of universal financial inclusion.

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Founder & CEO of MoneyMatiX Ltd, dedicated to financial inclusion, equality and empowerment. Named Most Inspirational Scottish Female Fintech Leader 2019, advising ministers and senior leaders on financial social mobility.  She recently published her first book, “Thriving Beyond Boundaries: Managing Money in a New Country” and is a sort after public speaker on Diversity, Equality, inclusion, financial education and the poverty ecosystem.  An experienced Mentor, Saltire fellow, Chartered banker & Lawyer by training with extensive corporate experience in financial services & working internationally for the United Nations.  Currently championing the MoneyMatiX Grow Your Money Challenge, a series of Youth Money Camps and an International Student Financial Education programme – all designed to bridge accessibility gaps via an interactive forum of hybrid events and activities that give mainstream organisations an opportunity to engage with marginalised people in a meaningful way.