Ground-breaking report into Indigenous financial exclusion - how we can do better

A ground-breaking new report into Indigenous financial exclusion examines the financial resilience of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Australians. The research interviewed 620 Indigenous Australians either face-to-face or online.

The report explains that there are two groups: the group suffering the most financial stress in Australia, and another group starting to build financial resilience. Both groups, however, are struggling with access to financial services.

The report, created and published by First Nations Foundation (FNF) and the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), provides recommendations for financial institutions for products and service delivery to Indigenous people.

CSI and NAB have been working together since 2015, with this report an extension of that work, to examine the financial resilience of Australians. This new report looks at how Indigenous Australians talk about money, and attempts to learn more about the financial goals and dreams of this group of Australians.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people focus on family and community wellbeing rather than individual wealth or building up money/assets

  • Indigenous financial aspirations are typically modest, viewed through the lens of the wellbeing of those around them

  • One in two Indigenous Australians experiences financial stress

  • Seventy-five per cent of Indigenous Australians give money to family or friends

  • Seventy-five per cent had difficulty getting help from financial services in the past year

  • ‘Money trouble’ was common in the survey respondents

  • ‘Financial social capital’ - people’s relationships and social resources - was low to moderate for the most part

  • Half the respondents had low to moderate levels of economic resources, while a third scored very low

  • Sixty-two per cent of respondents had moderate of high access and use of financial products and services

  • But, 71 per cent had low or moderate financial knowledge and behaviour

Conclusions of the research include:

  • There is more work to be done to include Indigenous Australians in the economy

  • The industry needs to improve availability, accessibility and appropriateness of financial products and services

  • Greater support is required for those who are financial excluded to avoid predatory or high-cost products that keep people trapped in poverty

NAB has been supporting Indigenous Australians through its Reconciliation Action Plan, with over $15 million in microfinance loans to over 16,000 Indigenous Australians since 2015.

Download the full Indigenous Financial Resilience Report