Financial literacy is part of the day-to-day at financial companies.
The current week (22–28 March) is packed with financial literacy: it’s both the European Money Week and the Global Money Week.
The improvement of financial literacy is an important goal for the sector’s companies – when citizens are well-versed in personal financial management, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Finland is looking forward to its national strategy for financial literacy. The proposal has already been handed over to the Ministry of Justice and has been favourably received.
Our members promote financial literacy 52 weeks a year
The promotion of financial literacy is not limited to one week per year. “Financial sector companies as well as other organisations put a massive amount of work into improving financial literacy. The topic gets almost daily media coverage. The reason is twofold: on one hand, a growing number of people have issues with personal finances, but on the other hand, investment is clearly growing in popularity. People now talk about wealth creation and investments more openly”, says Jussi Karhunen, adviser at Finance Finland (FFI).
“Financial literacy is being taken more seriously than before. The Bank of Finland’s proposal for a national strategy must be put into practice as soon as possible.”
JUSSI KARHUNEN, Adviser at FFI
FFI members have many financial literacy projects. Companies offer hands-on training on the use of digital services for older people, for example, and have financed several workshops that teach personal financial management and entrepreneurial skills to younger people.
Danske Bank has launched a multidisciplinary module called “Oma talous haltuun” (mastering personal finances) in secondary schools. Handelsbanken contributes to Economy and Youth TAT's development of digital learning materials to secondary schools. Nordea arranges workshops in schools, participates in the Yrityskylä project, and has also published a mobile game that teaches financial management to young people. OP Financial Group sponsors three projects: an economic competition for 9th grade students, the Pikkuyrittäjät entrepreneurship education program for elementary schools, and the Uskalla Yrittää national competition for JA Company Program. OP Financial Group also participates in the Yrityskylä project and makes school visits. Volunteer bank employees help financially distressed adolescents through the Deaconess Foundation.
The listed measures reach tens of thousands of people each year. Typically banks work in cooperation with third-sector organisations, such as JA Finland, Economy and Youth TAT, the Martha Organization, and the Deaconess Foundation.
“Banks actions for the improvement of Finns’ financial literacy have good scope and reach”, Karhunen comments.
All eyes are now on a national financial literacy strategy
Over the past few years, the Bank of Finland and several organisations and companies that promote financial literacy have worked together to prepare a thorough proposal for a national financial literacy strategy in Finland. FFI took part in drafting the strategic proposal.
In January, the proposal was submitted to Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson, who stated her intent to present funding for the implementation of the strategy.
“It is desirable to have the strategy up for implementation as soon as possible”, Karhunen emphasises.
The financial literacy projects of different European countries can be followed on Twitter through @EUMoneyWeek and the official hashtag #CountingEveryoneIn. They are also presented on the European Money Week website.