What we heard
Feedback from members of the pubic and stakeholders highlights that promoting financial literacy as early as possible is a key enabler in preventing knowledge gaps at future stages when key financial decisions are being made. There is a perception that technology changes, complexity of modern financial processes, and a lack of access to financial advice can adversely impact customers financial decisions and financial outcomes.
Many personal and SME customers struggle to understand the various financial products available to them and to manage their finances, particularly if they experience financial difficulties. They may not be aware of the range of short-term or longer-term solutions available to them. Raising awareness to reduce the risk of financial abuse and fraud was also highlighted as a need.
What we did
A working group was formed with senior representation from our five member banks and includes sponsors from the Irish Banking Culture Board to consider how we can promote financial awareness in Ireland. We are currently planning activities for 2021 in this area.
This will be a key enabler in preventing knowledge gaps at future stages when individuals are making significant and long-term financial decisions. This issue is a challenge across all of society.
Our approach is to partner with other relevant organisations, to promote information of benefit to customers and to address the needs of specific groups, identified as benefiting from improved financial awareness. These groups include Customers in a Vulnerable Position/ Older Customers, Customers in a vulnerable financial position, SME Customers (including Farmers) and Youth Customers. As a result of the impact of COVID-19, our priorities in this area are on the needs of customers in financial difficulty and SMEs.
Results / Feedback
Through our work on Financial Awareness thus far, we have had the opportunity to liaise with Safeguarding Ireland and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. We will continue to identify opportunities to collaborate with other relevant industry bodies.