Savings are safest – for you and the bank

[30 10 2012]

A retail banker is there for you – not only to grant credit but to encourage you to save. Why? Because it’s a sensible thing to do? Of course. But let’s also be frank: savings are the safest form of funding for a bank. The good news is that it’s also safe for you.

In today’s world, most people look for security more than outrageous returns. And saving is indeed safe. Real banks, savings and retail banks, offer what other banks can’t: real banking for real people. They don’t gamble away your savings in the markets. They invest them in the community by granting loans to you and your neighbours: households and SMEs.

But loans don’t work for everything. That “rainy day” will come whether you like it or not. It comes in different forms: accident, illness, “act of God”. But brighter days will also come, when you buy a house, a car, or retire. Bright, that is, if you actually have the money to enjoy the sunshine. Before any of those days come, you better start saving. There’s just no getting around it: you can’t prepare for the future overnight. Preparing for the future is a day-to-day exercise. You have to think and act with the long run in mind.

Developed countries can learn a lesson from developing countries in this context. The projects carried out by WSBI with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to double the number of savings accounts in ten African, Asian and Latin American countries have all shown that people are willing to go great lengths to save money and that adequate use of technology and state-of-the-art distribution methods can lead to savings products that are not only useful for the clients but also profitable for the financial institutions.

Every year on 30 or 31 October (depending on national bank holidays) World Savings Day calls attention to the importance of savings for modern economies and individuals alike. WSBI established World Savings Day in 1924 to inform people all over the world about the advantages of saving their money in a bank rather than keeping it under their mattress. Today it’s an annual tradition in several countries, a day to celebrate and campaign to encourage savings – and who better to spearhead the effort than WSBI and ESBG members? They are retail banks specialised in mobilising savings to grant credit to private customers, SMEs and local authorities. Over the years, they have acquired expertise and combined it with modern technology, allowing them to collect even small amounts of money and maintain it in an affordable savings account.

If you would like to contribute fresh ideas, exchange best practices, or share information concerning World Savings Day or related initiatives, please do not hesitate to send us your input. It will be considered for publication on the website.

WSBI - The Global Voice of Savings and Retail Banking
WSBI (World Savings Banks Institute) is an international banking association that represents savings and retail banks and associations thereof in 90 countries of the world (Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Africa and Europe). WSBI represents more than 6,150 financial institutions. At the end of 2010, these institutions operated through more than 227,000 branches and outlets, employed more than 2.2 million people and served more than 600 million customers. Assets of member institutions amounted to more than US $15.6 trillion at the end of 2010.
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If you would like more information, contact Dirk Smet on +32 2 211 11 90 (office) or via

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