EduFin Summit: digitalization is revolutionizing financial education

Inclusive growth and sustainable development

The last round table of the day, moderated by Antoni Ballabriga, Global Head of Responsible Business at BBVA, discussed how inclusive growth is the cornerstone of sustainable development. Participated in this session Laura Díaz, coordinator of support for the implementation of the Banking team UNEP_FI; Mercedes Canalda, President of the ADOPEM Savings and Credit Banka bank that is part of BBVA Microfinance Foundation and Stefan Van Woolderen, Head of Sustainability and Director of Financial Health at ING.

Before starting the conversation, Antoni Ballabriga read a message from Queen Máxima of the Netherlandswho played the role of Special Advocate to the UN Secretary General for Inclusive Finance for Development since 2009. In her letter, the Queen recalled that 76% of adults worldwide are financially included, an achievement that digital financial services have been the catalyst for. In this context, the acquisition of digital and financial skills is necessary, as they make it possible to maintain the gains and guard against the digital divide, with the support of financial institutions. “Financial regulators and businesses are in a unique position to encourage better financial behavior among people.” At the end of her message, Queen Máxima concluded with words of support at the top. “I hope the EduFin Summit will bring commitments and actions to ensure that digital financial inclusion leads to better financial health for all.”

In the panel discussion that followed, Laura Díaz reminded the audience that “Banks should care about the financial health of their customers because it’s good for business, but also good for people.” Díaz argued for the need to create new banking products, to anticipate users’ needs, to provide transparent information that gives confidence to customers and to strengthen financial skills to, among other things, avoid falling under the influence of ” endinfluencers” toxic. Diaz took the opportunity provided by the forum to announce the presentation on October 3 of a common framework for financial inclusion and health created by the UNEP FI Financial Inclusion Working Group, ​​agreed with participating banks. This initiative has established a set of indicators that are likely to become common terms in the industry. He also created a theory of change, “which we should all read and follow to get the desired impact on financial health.”

Stefan Van Woolderen summarized the three pillars of financial health: financial inclusion, including among the vulnerable population the most neglected sectors, such as people with disabilities; day-to-day finances and the finances of the future, that is to say support from the banks for the financial planning of tomorrow. “Inclusion is not our goal, the goal is financial health”, said Van Woolderen. “It’s not about having access to the bank or an account, but about making good use of it.”

Mercedes Canalda explained the methodology developed by the Microfinance Foundation and Banco Adopem, aimed at understanding customer needs and designing products and services. “It’s not about the customer going to the bank. We go to their home or business.” Canalda shared the video testimony of a bank-backed entrepreneur, Elba María Matías, who took the reins of her family’s cattle ranching business.

Canalda stressed that financial education through digital channels is key to reaching more people. “An example of the synergies between financial education and digital inclusion are financial pills and webinars,” she explained. “These are online sessions of financial education, business management, human development, entrepreneurship and empowerment that are conducted through Instagram Live, masterclasses and virtual sessions , with more than 14,000 views in the first half of 2022.”

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Donald E. Patel