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Tackling financial exclusion and changing young lives

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Today, over 2.5 billion people around the world have no access to basic financial services such as savings, bank accounts or credit.

Access to these services can help reduce poverty, increase social equality and encourage economic growth. Since 2009 we have worked together in a unique partnership with Care International (CARE) and Plan UK to tackle this issue. The Banking on Change partnership aims to break the barriers to financial inclusion and improve the quality of life in some of the world’s poorest communities, through a savings-led approach to microfinance. The partnership supports Barclays’ 5 Million Young Futures commitment.

As the world marks World Savings Day today we are celebrating the 630,000 people worldwide who are better able to manage their money and achieve financial independence, thanks to Banking on Change. Sky News Business Presenter Samantha Washington visited Zambia recently to see the work of the programme and shine a light on the worlds unbanked. 

Read her report published todayRead her report published today (new window)

The partnership helps set up community savings groups, with a key focus on young people, who save and lend together. Members are provided with training to develop their skills and knowledge to manage their finances or set up a small business, which can help them create a better future for themselves and their families. Globally, figures suggest that each member of a Banking on Change savings group saves around an average of US$58 a year.

In some countries, the savings groups are also linked to local Barclays’ branches, giving them access to banking products. Banking on Change is the first partnership between a bank and international NGOs to successfully link informal savings groups to the formal banking sector. To scale this work to tackle financial exclusion and give more people the access to the formal financial services needed to gain economic security, we are now encouraging others to adopt principles developed as a result of Banking on Change through the:

Linking for Change Savings CharterLinking for Change Savings Charter (new window)

Laurie Lee, Chief Executive, CARE International says:

“At CARE, we firmly believe that everyone can and should have access to financial services. People living on very little money are not unbankable and with a little support, even those living on $1 to $2 a day can save money.”

Tanya Barron, Chief Executive from Plan UK says:

“It’s about recognising that no-one is too poor to save, even the world’s poorest have the ability to lift themselves out of poverty. With the right support and training we can help the next generation to make a sustainable and long-lasting difference to their own lives, and the future of their communities and countries.”


More information

  • Read case studies (PDF 900KB, new window) on how young people around the world are changing their lives through Banking on Change.
  • For more information on the partnership visit
  • For more information on the Linking for Change Savings Charter visit: (new window)
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