August 2011 - Financial in/exclusion of ethnic minorities


Welcome to this latest edition of the ENARgy webzine, dedicated to financial in/exclusion of ethnic minorities and migrants! This edition focuses more specifically on access to banking services. It gives an overview of the obstacles faced by ethnic minorities and migrants in accessing banking services and building assets, presents microfinance initiatives and the specific issues of ethnic entrepreneurs, as well as a series of best practices of financial inclusion of ethnic minorities. If you want to read the webzine in pdf format, download it here

Migrants and financial inclusion: setting the framework

Migrant and ethnic minority communities are a significant and growing presence in many advanced economies of Europe. While there has been a great deal of academic and public policy interest in their broader integration into host societies, particularly in relation to access to jobs, housing, health care and education, much less attention has been afforded to their financial inclusion.

Two testimonies on obstacles faced by ethnic minorities when accessing banking services

Coring delos Reyes from United Migrant Domestic Workers in The Netherlands gives her testimony on the obstacles she faced because of her legal status when trying to access banking services, whereas the Traveller Money Advice and Budgeting Service in Ireland presents a case study on obstacles for people who do not have a registered postal address.

Access to microfinance by migrants and ethnic minorities in Europe

The main objective of microfinance is to offer disadvantaged groups and individuals, include immigrants and members of ethnic minorities, the resources needed to claw their way out of poverty by virtue of their own hard work and ingenuity. But to what extent do microfinance institutions target this specific group?

The European Commission’s Progress Microfinance Facility

As a response to the 2008 crisis and part of the EU Recovery Plan, the European Progress Microfinance Facility (Progress Microfinance) is an EU initiative, launched in February 2010, to support entrepreneurship and employment through microfinance activities.

Obstacles and access to business funding for ethnic entrepreneurs

The Microfinance Institute aims to extend financial services to business start-up or businesses development to groups, particularly immigrant women, who have no access to financing. Here they give an overview of the obstacles ethnic entrepreneurs face and how they access funding for their business.

Asset-building: why it is important for ethnic minorities

What are asset-building policies? And why are they important for ethnic minorities in Europe? Omar Khan gives an overview of the savings and assets situation among ethnic minorities and the difficulties they face in building up savings.

Interview with Triodos Bank

Triodos Bank talks about its definition of sustainable banking and about its work in support of ethnic minorities’ social inclusion.

Islamic finance in Europe: the missing link

The presence of Muslim communities in Europe has led to the emergence of a niche market with an exceptional potential: the “halal” market, meaning “compliant with the Islamic law”. In the field of finance, this objective of conformity implies the impossibility for Muslims to use the majority of financing and investment products available on the market, as most of them are based on the paying or receiving of an interest rate.

Best practices in financial inclusion of ethnic minorities

Two best practices are presented: Aflatoun’s concept of child-centred social and financial education for disenfranchised children is put into practice in the Ferentari ghetto of Bucharest. The Federation of Roma Associations in Catalonia (FAGIC) presents its project on self-employment and microfinance, which aims to offset shortfalls in the financing of small businesses of persons at risk of social exclusion