One in five EU adults do not have bank accounts

29th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

One in five adults in the 'EU 15' countries do not have bank accounts, with the figure increasing in former eastern bloc states

Brussels -- One in five adults living in the European Union's 15 oldest member states do not have a bank account, according to a study published Wednesday by the bloc's executive.

The figure rises to 47 per cent in the 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004 - most of them former communist states from Eastern Europe.

The study also found that a third of those living in the so-called EU-15 have no savings, while four in 10 have no credit facilities.

In general, the proportion of those without a bank account is lowest in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Luxembourg and highest in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The results of the study on financial exclusion were being discussed at a conference in Brussels bringing together the financial sector, consumer groups, public officials and non-governmental organization.

Vladimir Spidla, the EU commissioner for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, said financial exclusion is a serious problem because it "can stop people from participating fully in society."

Spidla noted that adults who have no bank accounts, for instance, find it harder to get a job since they cannot have their salaries transferred to their accounts.

Since most of the financially excluded are the vulnerable and the poor, the European Commission would like banks to develop simple, low cost accounts. DPA

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