German Sparkassen and World Savings Day – a long-lasting alliance
World Savings Day has been taking place for the past 90 years or more. Germany’s Sparkassen (savings banks) always reserve the last day of October, or the last working day in this month, to educate families, children and young people in a straightforward and yet entertaining way about the importance of saving. German Sparkassen are in fact World Savings Day trailblazers: right from the very beginning, they have organised a wide variety of events and activities to mark this special day. For them, this is an obvious thing to do, because social commitment is an intrinsic component of their business policy. Germany’s Sparkassen, which represent one of the largest and most successful banking groups in the world, combine professional banking services with a strong social mandate. It is their belief that everyone, regardless of their social status, should have access to financial services such as a current account or be able to take out a loan and transfer money abroad. But they also believe that before people can make use of these services, they first need to understand them. And it is for this reason that financial education – especially for children and young people – also forms part of every Sparkasse’s social mandate.
Putting money aside even when finances are strained – Sparkassen promote access to financial services worldwide
Poverty, unemployment and lack of access to financial services make saving a major challenge for people in many parts of the world. And yet, for people in developing countries and emerging economies, saving is especially important as they do not have any social welfare systems, occupational disability insurance or any other instruments that protect against poverty. People whose ill health temporarily renders them unable to work, and thus unable to generate a regular income, are essentially no longer able to meet their living expenses if they do not have any savings.
The World Institute of Savings and Retail Banks (WSBI) also advocates access to financial services on a worldwide scale. WSBI President Heinrich Haasis, who is at the same time Sparkassenstiftung’s Chairman of the Board, takes a stand for enabling all people in the world to get access to financial services: Together with the World Bank, WSBI strives to set up some 400 million new accounts by the year 2020, thus enabling some 1.7 billion customers worldwide to access financial services.
Introducing World Savings Day in developing countries and emerging economies: Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation and its recipe for success
Worldwide access to financial services – this is also the mission of Germany’s Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation. Founded by the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe (Savings Banks Finance Group) in 1992, Sparkassenstiftung is tasked with making the experience and expertise of Germany’s Sparkassen available to financial institutions in developing countries and emerging economies. Sparkassenstiftung supports local financial institutions that promote economic and social development in their respective countries at local, regional or national level.
Here too World Savings Day has proved particularly successful at fostering people’s financial awareness and honing their financial skills. Sparkassenstiftung has since rolled out World Savings Day activities in numerous project countries – with more being added all the time. Besides Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mexico, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia and Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and the Ukraine, the World Savings Day will be celebrated this year for the first time in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Tanzania and Vietnam.
Sparkassenstiftung has many partner countries, and World Savings Day is celebrated differently in all of them: In Zambia, for example, activities are not restricted to a single day but spread over 7 days as part of the country’s Financial Literacy Week. In Armenia and Azerbaijan, celebrations actually last up to a month. Here the topics of savings and financial education are packed into campaigns that go by the name of ‘My Money Month’ and the ‘Financial Literacy Month’ respectively.
Sparkassenstiftung’s many years of cooperation with actors involved in World Savings Day have, in the meantime, generated an extensive portfolio of educational materials, including brochures, pamphlets and school books on the topic of saving, and also pocket money planners and budget planners. But also especially composed savings songs, image films like in Armenia or Azerbaijan, and even locally produced movies and telenovelas are part of the parcel of measures organised around World Savings Day.
More interesting information about the World Savings Day, its players and its goals can be accessed on the special website of WSBI/ESBG.