Banking on Change Helps the World’s Poorest Save US$34M

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Banking on Change Helps the World’s Poorest Save US$34M

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Banking on Change partnership w/ @Barclays_cship, Care International UK, Plan UK helps over 400K save US$34m
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 3:30pm

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The ground-breaking Banking on Change partnership between Barclays and development charities Care International UK and Plan UK has helped more than 400,000 people save an astounding US$34m over the past three years. 

Over 70% of the people reached, who typically live on less than US$2 a day, are women and more than 300,000 are under the age of 35.

Banking on Change took a savings-led, rather than credit-led, approach to microfinance. It has helped establish community savings groups where members can save and lend together, while also providing in-depth skills training to provide members with the skills they need to manage their finances and start small businesses.

As a result, the partnership has been able to reduce poverty, increase social equality, and encourage sustainable economic growth in communities across seven countries: Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. It is the first partnership between a global bank and international NGOs to successfully link informal savings groups to the formal banking sector, bringing societal and economic returns for all involved.

Catharine French, Chief Administrative Officer, and Executive Sponsor in Barclays UK, said: “Banking on Change has clearly demonstrated that regardless of background, no one is too poor to save. Across the world there are 11.5 million people actively participating in informal savings groups which, if given the right tools and support, represent a stable and secure springboard from which poor individuals can start their journey to financial inclusion. The model established by Banking on Change has done this with great success.”

Thanks to Banking on Change:

  • Group members typically increased their weekly savings by 31% after their first year in the savings group
  • More than 116,000 new businesses have been established, more than half by young people
  • More than 5,000 savings groups – representing approximately 125,000 individual members – have linked to formal banking products. At December 2015, groups had over US$1m in savings deposited in bank accounts
  • Members have been able to go on to open and maintain personal bank accounts, showing that savings groups provide an effective path to full financial inclusion
  • Women and young people have said they feel more respected and valued, and are now able to influence community and household decisions
  • Group members experienced falling levels of poverty, increased profits from small businesses and improved access to education, healthcare and food.

This partnership has broken down barriers to financial inclusion, a problem faced by an estimated two billion people worldwide, including two-thirds of adults in most developing countries. Barclays is committed to providing access to financial and digital skills which will empower both individuals and companies to grow.

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Keywords: Sustainable Finance & Socially Responsible Investment | Barclays | Care International UK | Financial Inclusion | Plan UK | banking on change | empowering people

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