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Reshaping future of banking with financial literacy




A financial expert once said: “Bad business, as it sounds, makes no business sense in the ‘books’. It is an evil wind that blows no one no good.” But for the solution, he added: “If possible, avoid it, if not, run around it.” Perhaps, the financial literacy campaign is the “run around it” prescribed by the expert.

For one thing, the level of financial awareness of the public has a direct bearing on the existence and sustainability of banking business. On the other hand, it contributes to the growth of the economy, as banks serve the transmission mechanism purposes. Businesses get support, grow, employ and the bank gets returns by various opportunities therefrom.

There are still huge number of the unbanked and the under banked in Nigeria presently and it is a matter of reach, knowledge and convincing argument on the subject in question. In fact, the subsisting report said the country just reached a new milestone in the number of those using at least an aspect of financial services. Consequently, the financial inclusion rate has just been upgraded to about 60 per cent.

Surely, banks in the country have keyed into the global special project called the Money Week, from which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) designated a day in the week as Financial Literacy Day. It is to provide opportunities for senior bank officials to take to classrooms of primary and secondary schools, in the spirit of “catch them young” to instill the discipline of financial management as opposed to recklessness. But more importantly, it is to drum into the ears of the public that the relationship with bank is the beginning of financial wisdom.

Indeed, CBN said it has commenced discussions with the National Education Resource Centre to introduce financial literacy programme into the education curriculum of secondary schools in Nigeria.

The CBN Director, Consumer Protection Department, CBN, Hajiya Umma Dutse, said the yearly event creates awareness among youth and children as they learn savings, investments, entrepreneurship and employment generation through interactive activities.

For FBN Holdings Plc, since the initiative debuted, it has been a busy schedule to impress on potential customers the need to embrace financial education and benefits accruing from such decision.

The former Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Bisi Onasanya, had on March 13, 2014, taught students of Imaguero Secondary School, Sapele Road, Benin City, the Financial Literacy module. For business risk mitigation strategy, corporate social responsibility and/or compliance to rule, it makes business sense.

But CBN’s consumer protection chief, Dutse, added:  “At the CBN, we are partnering with numerous agencies to teach our children and youths about financial matters and also to create an enabling environment for them to gain access to basic banking and financial products and services through various initiatives, especially the financial inclusion strategy. The wisdom is that, a habit imparted in the youth at an impressionable age becomes a way of life,” she said.

In 2015, as part of CBN’s “Adopt a School” programme, the then Executive Director, Lagos and West for FirstBank, now Deputy Managing Director, Gbenga Shobo, took over 200 students of Tinuola International School, Ado Ekiti, through the basic concepts of making money, savings and investments, as well as letting them know that their capacity to make informed decisions will make them better adults in the future.

In 2016, the bank adopted another school- Harmony Secondary School, Lokoja and taught them the basics of money and its relevance in the world global economy. The Group Executive, Retail Banking North, Abdullahi Ibrahim, was on hand for the duty.

Ibrahim said the lender is firmly committed to the achievement of Financial Inclusion in Nigeria and “would continue to work towards this aspiration by extending banking services to under-banked, businesses, communities and individuals across the country…Beyond this, we recognize that Financial Literacy is a key enabler in our quest for Financial Inclusion.

“As the world progresses towards ensuring that every child will have access to financial services, financial awareness through education, a reliable source of income, and the will to save, FirstBank is committed to assisting the Nigerian child and young adult build a prosperous future by extending financial education and services to them early in life.”

MD/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Sola Adeduntan

MD/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Sola Adeduntan

Also, FBN Merchant Bank, a subsidiary of FBNHoldings, adopted Government Secondary School, Kabong, Jos, while Olajide Modele, the Head of IT Applications taught the students, taking them through the importance of investments, investing, financial planning and general financial literacy.

Modele, who spoke on behalf of the Managing Director of FBN Merchant Bank, said: “They are the leaders of tomorrow. They are those that will be running our economy tomorrow and developing our society. It is important that at a very young age, we help them understand importance of investments, investing, financial planning and general financial literacy. They’ve come to school to get academic education, it is also important that a part of that education involves being financially literate”.

The bank said it has evolved many intervention strategies in an effort to deepen the initiative that globally acclaimed to be mutually beneficial.

Among the interventions is the FirstBank FutureFirst Programme, which is about career counselling and financial education, launched for the ages between 13 and 17years in partnership with Lagos Empowerment and Resource Network (LEARN) and Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN).

“FutureFirst is also implemented through a structured Employee Volunteering Scheme (EVS). This involves FirstBank’s employees offering their time and knowledge in enlightening high school students. So far, over 40,000 students from 60 secondary schools have benefitted from this programme.

“FirstBank’s Financial Literacy Programme aims to provide an experiential supplement to the business education of high school students in Nigeria and empower them with financial knowledge through training on running a business and the basics of money to promote a savings culture amongst them,” the bank’s Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney, said.

The CBN Financial Literacy Day is designed as a core part of the ‘Framework for Financial Literacy in Nigeria’ aimed at ensuring financial inclusion for the unbanked. The Financial Literacy framework is also aimed at enabling the Nigerian population know, understand and develop the ability to evaluate financial products/services in the financial markets, thus decreasing the number of Nigerians that do not have access to financial services from 46.3 per cent to 20 per cent by the year 2020.

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