As Project Syndicate recently reported, the United Kingdom recently hosted the Global Disability Summit, a meeting to help focus the world’s attention on the needs of people with disabilities. While many topics were addressed, one that was omitted, as writer Jacqueline Musiitwa points out, was the disabled community’s access to financial services.
People with disabilities deserve access to everything that the rest of the population has access to, and today’s assistive technologies are helping to make that more possible than ever. But providing this kind of access is not only the right thing for banks and financial service firms to do, it’s also possibly a highly lucrative thing to do. As Musittwa writes, the world has more than one billion disabled people with more than $1 trillion in disposable income, a potentially huge client base. The article also cites a recent Barclays research that shows that when customers with disabilities are able to manage their money, economic vulnerability declines and overall economic health improves.
In her article, Musiitwa writes that one of the main factors that has kept banks from marketing specifically to people with disabilities is lack of awareness. Because disabled individuals often have fewer monetary assets than their non-disabled peers, banks may not have felt incented to cater to them. However, as financial institutions look for new growth opportunities, they many finally be more motivated to reach out to this community.
This will best be achieved if banks and other companies wishing to appeal to people with disabilities give those individuals a seat at the table to find out what they really need and want, and how they can best be served.
The entire Project Syndicate article is linked here: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/access-to-financial-services-for-disabled-by-jacqueline-musiitwa-2018-08