Banking on Change. Photo credit: CARE/Victoria Love

Photo credit: CARE/Victoria Love

Banking on Change

Banking on Change is a partnership between Plan UK, CARE International UK and Barclays that aims to help around 400,000 people in 11 countries by developing access to basic financial services.

Banking on Change is a partnership between Barclays and international charities Plan UK , CARE International UK . Launched in 2009 to improve the quality of life of people who live under $2 a day, in its first three years the partnership supported over 513,000 individuals in 11 countries to save and manage their money more effectively, exceeding its original beneficiary target by 34%.

In January 2013, Barclays committed a further £10m investment into the partnership to focus on providing financial access and enterprise skills to young people (aged between 15 and 24 years), ensuring that groups are financially included and have the skills to be economically independent. The partnership will also continue to build on its successful model for linking Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) to the formal financial system, through access to group savings accounts with local Barclays branches. So far 660 VSLAs have been linked to Barclays branches, and four new banking products have been developed to meet the needs of poor customers in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

The partnership will run in 7 of the original eleven partnership countries: Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Visit the links on this page to find out more about Community Investment in these countries.

As a partnership, Banking on Change succeeds by utilising and building on the skills and expertise of all three partners and has as such been held up as a model for cross-sector partnerships. The partnership has been recognised by the Business Call to Action network, and in 2012 won both ‘Best Overseas Project’ at the Business Charity Awards and ‘Most Effective Long-term Philanthropic Scheme’ at the Corporate Engagement Awards.

Read more about how Banking on Change helps disadvantaged people fulfil their potential (PDF 491KB)

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The Linking for Change Savings Charter

Today 2.5 billion people still lack access to formal financial services. With the right support, these people could save US$145bn a year.

Banking on Change is the first partnership between a global bank and international NGOs to successfully link informal savings groups to the formal banking sector. Recognising that to scale up financial inclusion, many organisations will need to work together, the partnership is calling on other individuals and institutions to engage in the development of a set of international principles, the Linking for Change Savings Charter.

The charter builds on the experiences of, and lessons learned through Banking on Change over the last four years. We plan to build an Alliance of 100 leading organisations who will support the principles and can help develop new savings products for poor communities in the developing world.

Extending formal banking services to the world’s poorest communities will improve their quality of life through increases in household income, investments in micro-enterprises, and spending on healthcare and education.

Read the Linking for Change Savings Charter (PDF 295KB)

Banking on Change: breaking barriers to financial inclusion

A new Banking on Change report examines the barriers to financial inclusion in developing countries.

The study identifies five recommendations to break barriers to financial inclusion, and also describes the potential boost to the global economy that large-scale financial inclusion represents.

The five recommendations:

  1. Ensure financial inclusion is part of the new UN Development framework
  2. Recognise group banking as a springboard to financial inclusion
  3. Build bridges between informal and formal financial sectors
  4. Invest in, and expand access to, financial literacy
  5. Develop strong checks and balances to protect poor and vulnerable people

Read the Report (PDF 1MB)

A film on removing the barriers to financial inclusion

British newscaster and CARE ambassador Alastair Stewart visited the town of Iganga in eastern Uganda in July 2012, where he learned about one of the Village Savings and Loans Associations set up as part of the Banking on Change programme. Alastair investigated how the association has linked itself to a local Barclays branch and the ways in which two of the participants have improved their lives through saving.

Watch Alastair Stewart’s film about Banking on Change in Uganda.