Financial youth literacy the way to achieve financial inclusion

[24 10 2011]

WSBI (World Savings Banks Institute) and FEPCMAC (Federación Peruana de Cajas Municipales de Ahorro y Crédito) are committed to improving financial literacy amongst youth. Empowering individuals to manage financial resources effectively with a view to sustainability improves their individual living conditions and those of their families. Within WSBI’s membership, many savings and retail banks have developed financial literacy programmes for young people, which include financial products that familiarise their young clients with managing money and teach them a culture of saving. 

One-third of the world’s population is under the age of 19. Most live in developing countries; they make decisions or face situations early in life that will have an impact on the rest of their lives. It is therefore ideal for banks to start working with the young, as financial literacy is as a way to optimise their life trajectory. 

Edmundo Hernandez Aparcana, FEPCMAC President, said, “Financial literacy should start as early as possible so that young people can consciously practise managing their financial resources. To achieve true financial capability, people need to act through access to adequate banking services. The challenge for savings and retail banks is to make these programmes profitable, too, demonstrating that financial inclusion and sustainability can successfully coexist.”

Chris De Noose, WSBI Managing Director said, “WSBI member banks have been working on financial education as a way to achieve financial inclusion since 2004. I am happy now to see that in recent years the idea has been adopted by several organisations, and that it is now a high priority on their agenda.”

The topic of financial education has recently been at the heart of a growing number of institutions at national, EU and international levels, on both emerging and mature markets. In 2005, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) approved a resolution that recommended the promotion of financial education through the development of common financial literacy principles. In 2008, the OECD launched the International Gateway for Financial Education, which serves as a clearinghouse for financial education programmes, information and research worldwide. In developing countries, the topic has been on the agenda of a number of ongoing policy programmes, and is strongly supported by several organisations, such as the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) with its YouthStart initiative, and Child and Youth Finance International, which is a large global movement bringing together 25 countries on the topic of financial services for youth and children.

WSBI advocates placing the topic of youth financial education and youth financial services higher on the agenda of all major stakeholders in the world and supports the YouthSave initiative to build a case for youth savings accounts in three member banks: Banco Caja Social in Colombia, Postbank Kenya and HFC Bank in Ghana. The first goal of this initiative is to understand the conditions for sustainable delivery of savings services that can substantially improve the lives of low-income youths in the developing world. The second goal is to transfer this knowledge to financial institutions, which are in a position to support the accessibility and quality of savings services.
WSBI also calls on national governments to consider including financial education in the primary and secondary school curriculum. Financial education can enable customers, especially the most vulnerable ones, to protect themselves from abusive financial practices and prevent financial exclusion. To deliver financial education, and thus achieve financial inclusion, a multi-stakeholder approach is needed, in which governments will be involved.

On 24-25 October, at the FEPCMAC conference “Youth financial access and youth inclusive financial services”, WSBI member banks will discuss youth financial literacy, including:

  • the importance of involving young people in the management of their money;
  • encouraging banks to disseminate a culture of savings among these populations;
  • sustainability in the long run, with the provision of products and services for young people.


Dirk Smet at +32 2 211 11 91, 
Sara Tironi at +32 2 211 11 90,

WSBI – The World Savings Banks Institute: The Global Voice of Savings and Retail Banking

Promoting the strengths of retail banking as a stabilising factor in the financial world and acting as the main financial partner of private persons, SMEs and local authorities in the “real economy” are the main objectives of WSBI. Founded in 1924, WSBI represents savings and retail banks in 89 countries vis-à-vis governmental and non-governmental organisations at the international and national levels.

A top priority for the organisation is increasing access to financial services as an essential prerequisite for sound and sustainable economic development and personal and financial empowerment of individuals. WSBI pursues this objective by establishing contacts with policymakers and by developing training and consultancy activities that foster access to finance in developing or developed regions.

WSBI members are typically savings and retail banks or associations thereof. They are often organised in decentralised networks and offer their services throughout their region. WSBI member banks have reinvested responsibly in their region for many decades and are a distinct benchmark for corporate social responsibility activities throughout the world.

FEPCMAC – Peruvian Municipal Savings and Credit Banks Federation (or Federación Peruana de Cajas Municipales de Ahorro y Crédito)

FEPCMAC is a public law entity with financial and administrative autonomy, representing the Municipal Savings and Credit System, or CMAC. It provides advisory, training and computer support, and assumes legal responsibility for auditing the system, ensuring transparency and CMAC’s proper administrative and financial management. FEPCMAC is a highly competitive and sustainable entity that plans alternative solutions for CMAC’s development.

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