Banks are an active and essential part of the daily life of most Canadians – 96 per cent of Canadians have an account with a financial institution, and so millions turn to banks every day for services and advice to help them save, plan for retirement, start businesses and buy homes.
As a result, banks already provide their customers and potential customers with a wealth of educational material, information, tools and services geared to helping them make the best financial choices.
But they go beyond this. Banks in Canada are also leaders in supporting financial literacy activities and initiatives in communities across Canada.
There are many community organizations delivering financial literacy to vulnerable groups across Canada and many of these programs are supported by banks and involve bankers. Not-for-profit credit counselling agencies provide help for borrowers who are having difficulty repaying their debts, for example, and banks provide volunteers for credit counselling boards and donate millions of dollars to support the work of credit counselling agencies in their communities.
Banks also recognize that providing young Canadians with information and tools to understand the importance of money management at an early age helps improve the financial literacy of Canadians as a whole. In addition to the initiatives sponsored or led by the individual banks to promote financial literacy, the banks have also jointly support a non-commercial in-class seminar since 1999 called Your Money Students. To date, bank volunteers have delivered more 7500 seminars to more than 220,000 students across Canada. More information about the Your Money Students Program can be found here.
The Parliamentary Internship Programme (PIP) has received funding and support from the CBA. The PIP is a non-partisan initiative that gives young Canadians an opportunity to work on Parliament Hill with both Government and Opposition Members of Parliament. Many young Canadians have benefitted from the Programme, with many going on to senior positions in the academic, public and private spheres.
In November 2013, the Canadian Bankers Association announced that it would be launching a new national financial literacy program for seniors. Modelled on the CBA’s highly successful Your Money Students program, this new seminar program will be offered in French and English, free of charge, to seniors’ groups across the country.
Your Money Seniors, will be presented by bankers in the community volunteering their time and expertise and is
being developed in partnership with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). Seminars are expected to begin in mid -2014.
The Federal Government has highlighted the importance of financial literacy. In 2009, the federal government created the Task Force on Financial Literacy to develop a national strategy to strengthen the financial literacy of all Canadians. The CBA made a submission to the Task Force as part of its consultations. The Task Force delivered its report to the government in February 2011 and the CBA strongly supports many of the recommendations.