Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are struggling with access to financial services and suffering the most financial stress in Australia, according to a report from the First Nations Foundation, the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) and National Australia Bank (NAB).
The report examined the financial resilience of the 620 people from the two social groups and found only one in 10 felt they were ‘financially secure’, half found it hard to meet living expenses and half suffered ‘financial stress’.
Some 75 per cent said they had had difficulty getting help from financial services organisations as they felt it was too expensive, they didn’t trust them, didn’t want to wait or were too proud to seek help.
CSI chief executive, Professor Kirsty Muir, said the findings demonstrated ways financial services firms could improve their relationship with indigenous people.
This included recognising cultural differences, using more interpreters, having staff visit rural communities and provide more information documents.
“We need to come together to improve the availability, accessibility and appropriateness of financial products and services. We need to support people who are financially excluded to avoid predatory or high cost products that lock them into perpetual poverty,” she said.