Older people, especially those in their 80s and 90s are now at increasing risk of financial exclusion. Our 2016 report on this issue, "When I'm 84". Locking the Door on the Older Old: the Challenge Facing Britain's Banks, based on original new research by the Finance Foundation is available here (PDF - 929KB). It argues that the very oldest in our society are now at risk of becoming financially excluded. As the rest of us switch to digital technology and the closure of high street banks continues apace, the needs of older people are in danger of being forgotten.

The Finance Foundation Director, Andrew Freeman, set out the case for change:

‘This report makes a hugely valuable contribution to the debate on the older old and their access to financial services. The Finance Foundation is deeply committed to social justice. What we need now is some real discussion about how the industry should respond to this challenge, and what role the public and voluntary sectors should play. Everyone has a stake in ensuring that older people can continue to live independently with full access to the services they need.’

Describing the report as ‘a fascinating and timely’ piece of work, Christine Farnish CBE, former Chair of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, said:

‘Access to your money, and the ability to make payments, is an essential part of being able to function in today’s world. It may be as important to an older person’s sense of self-worth as the ability to wash and feed themselves.’

Directed by Hilary Cooper, Senior Associate at The Finance Foundation, our research used interview evidence from 175 older people to give an insight into the world of the over 80s - a group whose needs are normally invisible to policy makers as they are not separately studied. It also includes the views and experiences of over 250 family members and friends who, behind the scenes, help those in their 80s and 90s with their finances. The fieldwork was carried out for us by Opinium Research.

A summary of the key findings and recommendations is available here. Hilary drew on the research to provide a detailed response to the FCA's consultation paper DP/16/1, the precursor to a comprehensive strategy on the Ageing Population and Financial Services which the FCA published in October 2017. She also submitted evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Financial Exclusion, which was drawn on in their final report, wrote about the subject for Mature Times (November 2016 edition) and for the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing - see their blog page.

The Finance Foundation continues to engage in debate on this very important policy issue. The issues raised when Hilary was interviewed for Money Box Live on 5th October 2016 for their programme, Who needs a bank branch? are if anything even more pertinent as the pace of bank branch closures increases. You can listen to the discussion here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07wtd72 (Hilary's interview about our research is about half way through).