Former offenders face significant financial exclusion, including access to insurance, mortgages, and other credit products. As a result, they either use non-mainstream providers commanding significant premiums or simply remain excluded. It is extremely difficult for prisoners to set up even basic bank accounts prior to release. This is creates a barrier to stable employment and housing, as well as to the further take up of mainstream financial products and services. Although there are a number of excellent pilot project and isolated schemes, lack of access to financial services, even basic banking, remains the norm for most prisoners and former offenders. A significant number of prisons have made efforts to establish relationships with local bank branches but have been unable to make progress.