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Women and banks: Are female customers facing discrimination?

equality, personal finances

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Author(s):  Noreena Hertz
Published date:  10 Nov 2011
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Given the evidence laid out in this paper, the UK government has a legal obligation to investigate the claim that banks may be discriminating against women.

While certain aspects of banks’ behaviour – subprime lending, governance structures, oversight mechanisms and so on – have been interrogated in the wake of the 2008–09 financial crisis, how banks treated and continue to treat women customers is a subject that has received little attention. The findings of this research, however, point to the need to shine a spotlight on banks’ practices in this area.

If it is found that women are indeed being discriminated against in the UK – something the research within this paper would suggest is very likely – the government is obliged by law to act upon such knowledge by prosecuting the banks involved, ensuring remedies to the victims involved, and enacting legislation and policies that proactively address the causes of this form of discrimination in order to eliminate it for good.

This report focuses on discrimination in two specific respects – against women entrepreneurs seeking business loans and women home-buyers seeking mortgage loans – and identifies a new category of potentially unlawful behaviour, concerning discrimination against would-be mortgage-holders who are pregnant and/or on maternity leave.

 
 

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Noreena Hertz, Trustee and Growth and Prosperity panel