The Barclays community investment programme is recognised for both meeting commercial objectives and contributing to global development goals such as the eradication of poverty and gender equality.
Banking on Change is a three-year, £10m partnership between Barclays and charities Plan International and CARE International.
It aims to benefit up to 400,000 people in 11 countries, addressing the issue of financial exclusion by creating groups in which members pool their savings to make small loans available to fellow members.
As part of the programme, Barclays has committed to ultimately link up to 60,000 of the participants with access to formal financial products and services.
This is expected to generate business benefits as well as improve access to finance for thousands.
The Business Call to Action is a network of companies, governments and charities working to help the UN achieve the Millennium Development Goals, which include ending poverty and hunger, universal education and environmental sustainability.
Its adoption of Banking on Change as a flagship project will enable Barclays to share and showcase innovations it has developed in the field of savings-led community managed microfinance in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Of more than 60 multinational companies which have joined the Business Call to Action, only 27 have had their projects recognised.
During a recent visit to one of the savings-led community groups in Uganda, Anthony Jenkins, Chief Executive, Barclays Global Retail Banking, said: “There are lots of aspects of banking that are socially useful... Banking underpins economic activity”.
“It allows people to buy cows, to make some money and to educate their children.”
Natalie Africa, Programme Manager, Business Call to Action, added: “Extending access to banking and financial services within low-income communities allows poor people to manage their money more efficiently and effectively and creates new opportunities for inclusive economic growth.”
The Banking on Change initiative is part of Banking on Brighter Futures, Barclays flagship community investment programme which focuses on enhancing financial inclusion in marginalised communities worldwide.