Key Actions: Promoting financial inclusion

Financial inclusion enables survivors to protect themselves against financial manipulation. This chapter explores how to support survivors to set up a bank account and start taking control of their money, overcoming barriers to survivor inclusion.

Key Actions: Promoting financial inclusion

Key actions

  • Actively facilitate access to bank accounts for survivors by engaging with the FAST Survivor Inclusion Initiative.
  • Collaborate closely with survivor support organisations to streamline survivor referrals and ensure that wider support is clearly signposted.
  • Review and update your banking policies to ensure they address the barriers faced by survivors and promote greater survivor financial inclusion.

Important guidance for financial institutions

Financial institutions play a crucial role in supporting survivors to open a bank account and gain access to holistic financial support.

We recommend the following key guidance to be implemented by financial institutions to support survivor financial inclusion:

  1. Creating and sharing a clear information pack outlining the products available to survivors, necessary documentation and what to expect when opening an account, can ensure information is accessible for survivors and survivor support organisations.
  2. If you are offering a holistic bank account for all vulnerable customers, it is important that these are well signposted and easy for survivors to navigate.
  3. Consider flagging survivor accounts for the life of the account and provide specific account protections such as enhanced monitoring and fee waivers, to protect survivors from re-exploitation and risk.
  4. Working closely with financial crime, risk and regulatory teams can ensure that they are supportive of initiatives and understand the steps which are being taken to manage potential risks.
  5. Recognise the importance of tracking and monitoring your survivor account openings for reporting and evaluation as this will help to inform the development of survivor inclusion programmes.
  6. Identifying and training specific employees to become “Survivor Banking Champions” can enable survivors and survivor support organisations to always have a clear and reliable point of contact with the bank.
  7. Implementing measures to overcome language barriers, such as using external translation services or offering subtitled basic banking videos with multiple language options, will increase accessibility for survivors and other vulnerable customers.

Important guidance for survivor support organisations

Taking ownership of own finances by opening a bank account is a key milestone in every survivor’s journey to recovery.

This important guidance is for survivor support organisations, to help survivors to open a bank account and to provide long-term support:

  1. Before referring survivors to open a bank account, assess an individual’s current mindset and stage in their healing journey to help reduce the risk of re-exploitation.
  2. Sharing information packs provided by financial institutions within organisations can help prevent the spread of misinformation amongst frontline staff and survivors.
  3. Informing the bank of the types of ID held by the survivor (if any) and any specific preferences (i.e. language preference) or needs a survivor may have prior to an initial appointment, can help streamline the onboarding process.
  4. Support survivor financial empowerment beyond opening an account by helping survivors to access internet banking, financial literacy resources and key employability programmes.

“Access to financial services makes a massive difference to survivors. It gives them independence and the opportunity to help rebuild their lives. The long-term goal is that they don’t need support anymore… and that the risk of re-exploitation is so small.”

Lara Bundock, CEO, The Snowdrop Project

Next steps to advance financial empowerment

In the next chapter we will explore how financial institutions and survivor support organisations can advance financial empowerment, introducing you to the following key drivers of financial inclusion:

  • Collaborating with survivor support organisations
  • Employee training and protecting vulnerable customers
  • Internet banking for survivors
  • Financial literacy education
  • Employability support
  • Access to wider banking services and funding

Where to next?



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Survivor financial empowerment hub

Survivor financial empowerment hub

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An introduction to key drivers

An introduction to key drivers

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