Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Bank of Ireland to spend over €4m on financial literacy

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Bank of Ireland is to invest over €4m in the next two years in a range of financial literacy initiatives as part of its long-running national Financial Wellbeing campaign.

The new investment, which will have a special focus on youth financial literacy, will help equip people with the know-how to better understand money and the confidence to make smarter financial decisions.

Bank of Ireland’s latest Financial Wellbeing Index – conducted in October 2023 – showed that the country’s financial literacy score for 2023 was 53%.

This means that, on average, people answered just over half of the questions in its financial literacy test correctly.

The research revealed a drop in financial literacy in certain demographics compared to April 2023, including in the 18-24 age group where scores fell from 52% to 48%.

Bank of Ireland said it will invest another €2.4m in financial literacy programmes for both primary and secondary schools during this year and next year.

It will continue to expand the “Talking Cents with Ollie” financial literacy programme for primary schools and the Money Smarts Financial Literacy Programme for secondary schools with the aim of reaching an additional 60,000 children and young people in 2024 and 2025.

The lender said that since it launched its Financial Wellbeing Programme in 2017, over 540,000 children and young people have taken part in its programmes at primary and secondary schools.

The bank will also provide funding of over €1m to support a team of Youth Financial Coordinators and Financial Wellbeing Coaches to deliver financial education initiatives to support the financial literacy and capability of students and adults.

The lender will also continue to offer its “Bank at Work” service, which it provides to employers to help support their workers’ financial wellbeing.

Bank at Work offers a range of financial wellbeing talks and seminars, covering saving, budgeting, borrowing, cost of living, mortgages, pensions and fraud awareness.

Aine McCleary, Group Chief Customer Officer at Bank of Ireland, said that ensuring people are equipped with the skills to make smart financial decisions is key to its financial literacy investment.

“We know that the sooner people understand how to manage their money the better off they’ll be in the long run,” she said.

But she added that the drop in financial literacy in the 18-24 demographic is a real concern.

“Being financially literate and aware is vital for younger people, in particular when we see them being targeted by fraudsters trying to recruit them for illegal activities like ‘money-muling’. That can have really serious consequences for the individual for many years,” she warned.

“In general terms, our Financial Literacy Score shows us that some of the questions where people consistently perform poorly include around understanding of tax relief, savings, mortgage interest rates and credit card interest,” Ms McCleary said.

“These are parts of everyday life for a lot of people, so it’s important to understand them. We are committed to playing our part in improving financial literacy, and that’s core to our investment plans to the end of 2025,” she added.

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