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Barclays banking on change
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Today, over 2.5 billion people globally are considered financially excluded – that is, with no access to financial services, such as savings, bank accounts or credit. Having access to these basic services can transform the lives of vulnerable individuals, especially young people, and gives them the opportunities to fulfil their potential.

Since 2009, Barclays, CARE International UK and Plan UK have been working together in a unique partnership to tackle this issue by taking a savings-led, rather than credit-led approach to microfinance. Banking on Change aims to improve the quality of life of the world’s poorest people living on less than US$2 a day. It combines the expertise of each partner to give people in seven countries the opportunity and skills to save and manage their money more effectively and access to the basic financial services they need.

In 2013, Barclays renewed its commitment to the partnership with an additional investment of £10m, enabling us to reach many more people in Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

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, but we know that fulfilling the scale of our ambitions will require many more organisations to work together. That’s why we’re calling on other banks, companies, NGOs and governments to support a set of international principles for savings-led financial inclusion - the ‘Linking for Change’ Savings Charter (PDF 305KB, new window).

Read more about the Linking for Change Savings Charter Link that opens up the Care website

In addition, we have used our experience to develop a youth savings group model to contribute to increased financial inclusion and youth economic empowerment. We have worked with the wider sector to build a rigorous model that will serve as a policy and practitioner framework. Find out more about Banking on Change (PDF 1MB, new window).

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What we are working to achieve (2013-2015):


young savings groups will be established, providing financial literacy, employment skills and enterprise training.


sustainable income generating activities will be supported, enabling young people to become self-sufficient

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Sarah Mutanda, Banking on Change

Sarah Mutanda: spotting opportunity

Sarah’s story

24-year-old Sarah Mutanda lives in Buwologoma Village, Uganda, with her husband and children. Before Banking on Change, Sarah’s livestock business provided her with an unreliable seasonal income. After joining the savings group in her village, Sarah gained budgeting and planning skills that have helped her secure a regular and stable income, and fulfil her entrepreneurial potential.

She now owns two cows and a bull, rents out her motorbike and is planning to buy a fridge when her village receives electricity – having spotted an opportunity to sell cold drinks. 

Sarah is a great example of how lives can be changed for the better by real back-to-basics banking, coupled with sound advice from the charity sector. When billions of people around the world are financially excluded, programmes like Banking on Change have the potential to be truly transformational.
Alastair Stewart, ITV News journalist and presenter and Ambassador for Care International UK
Bill Clinton - Banking on Change

Zainuba: Planning to open more salons

Zainabu’s story

Zainabu Rashid, 22, lives in outskirts of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and is the owner of her own hair salon in the village and a member of the Upendo Hisa savings group.

When Zainabu  left school, she found it hard to get a job. An aspiring hairdresser, she didn’t have a fixed income or the support to start her own business. Encouraged by her friends to join a Banking on Change savings group, she saved to rent a small salon and took a loan from the group to buy the equipment she needed.  She now earns around $9 per day and plans to expand her business by opening more salons.  

Zainabu met Bill Clinton when he visited the Upendo Hisa savings group to see first-hand how they had established a savings culture, which combined with financial and small business training, had enabled many to establish micro-enterprises.

This is the sort of thing that banking should be doing – it’s about real people, taking out real loans, to do real things. Thank you to Barclays, Plan and CARE, and to the community for all you are doing. This sends out a great message to Tanzania, and to all of Africa.”
President Bill Clinton, Founder, Clinton Foundation, 42nd President of the United States
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How Banking on Change works

Savings groups give people the skills to save...
Barclays banking on change
  • Self-selecting groups of 15-30 people
  • Members meet regularly to save money and gain financial skills
  • Savings are secured in a lockable cash box, with three keys and key holders
Barclays banking on change
  • When the group has saved enough, loans are available for domestic and small business use
  • Loans are paid back with interest agreed by the group
  • Annually, members share savings which can increase by up to 60%
    • When the group has saved enough, loans are available for domestic and small   business use

    • Loans are paid back with interest agreed by the group

    • Annually, members share savings which can increase
Barclays banking on change
  • Groups that are ready have the opportunity to link to formal savings accounts
  • They gain added security of savings and access to bank products
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