Finance for Non-Financial
Financial entities have long been involved in educating groups at risk of social exclusion so that they can take control of their lives.
Illustration: Gabriel Sanz
Updated Monday, October 4, 2021 – 01:00
No one should be left behind. Solidarity defines us (or should) as a species. Beyond terms such as empathy may become fashionable for a certain period of time, the instinctive rejection that injustice causes us runs through history. In finance, too. More than ever in a time that has made it an obvious lever for progress … while the figures express an obvious mismatch. The World Bank, for example, he estimates that there are 1.7 billion people in the world without access to basic financial services.
But even in a country like ours, considered advanced in terms of development, the numbers don’t quite add up. Luis Monge, Director of Sustainability of Santander Spain he values positively the first National Financial Education Plan, which was launched in 2008, and in which, he recalls, “thousands of hours of training have been imparted”.
However, it reports the results of the last Pisa report, 2019, on financial knowledge, in which children between 13 and 15 years old were evaluated: “It places Spain in the tenth position of the 15 countries of the OECD analyzed. “And another worryingly significant data comes from the last Survey of Financial Competencies of the Bank of Spain: “28% of Spaniards live in homes with a deficit, that is, whose expenses have exceeded their income in the last 12 months, a percentage that increases to 35% among people with a low educational level.” Diagnosis: “There is still a lot to do.”
As part of its Responsible Banking policies, Santander has financial education programs and initiatives aimed at people in vulnerable situations, such as the elderly, adolescents, people with comprehension difficulties, at risk of exclusion or with access to limited to education, all likely to find themselves in an unstable financial scenario. Among the most outstanding initiatives is the Finance for Mortals program, a Santander Espaa program recognized as one of the main financial education programs in the country, both by the Bank of Spain and by the National Commission of the Stock Market.
For Monge, financial education “develops the skills that allow the individual to assess risks and freely make personal and family decisions in a responsible manner.” In education, he maintains, “we can find very positive values and stimuli: motivation, willingness to change, social support and knowledge that are complemented very well with public aid to get out of social exclusion.”
But for this, we must gather muscle: “Since 2015, almost 25% of the training we have given has been to vulnerable groups and at risk of exclusion, in collaboration with some thirty NGOs such as Action Against Hunger, Children’s Villages, Gypsy Secretariat Foundation, Once, Diocesan Critas, Food Bank, Soar Awake, Red Cross, Integra Foundation… “. In addition, Santander has begun to” collaborate with the General Secretary of Penitentiary Institutions to provide training to prison inmates and we are very excited about the Educational Justice initiative, which can be a great way to achieve a post-prison reintegration with greater chances of success. “
The state must also pitch in. “To achieve significant progress, public administrations with educational competencies should promote and lead the incorporation of financial education in the classroom from an early age, so that the entire Spanish population can be trained,” says Monge, who gives an example of the fertility of all kinds of collaboration: “We collaborate with Edelvives Foundation in promoting financial education in the school environment (students, families and teachers), providing training content available for free on the website of the Parent University Foundation, and we will complement this online training with the support of other face-to-face activities given by our volunteers “.
An effort of sometimes complex gears that does not forget, however, the decisive importance of the end of the process. For Monge, in the financial education of vulnerable groups there are no better tricks than “sitting with them, asking how we can help them, listen to them and work together, learning and improving. You have to have a broad and generous vision.”
In return, value is proven back and forth. For example: “In July, our fellow volunteers gave training sessions in various prisons and they were surprised by how participatory they were, the number of questions they were asked and the applause with which they were dismissed at the end of the sessions. All the trainers They called me wanting to come back now and participate in more sessions. ” And sometimes that courage rewards you with a warmth that touches your depths. Another recent example: “This summer I taught a very old neighbor, and not at all digital, to use the bank app on his mobile. Now he gives me a hatsApp every time he does a Bizum to their grandchildren. “
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