- Over 99 per cent of Canadians have a bank account with a financial institution,1 and millions turn to banks daily for advice to help them save, plan for retirement, start businesses and buy homes.
- The banks’ investment in financial literacy is significant, and growing. In 2015, banks invested nearly $9.5 million in financial literacy programs, a 280 per cent increase from 2010.
The bottom line
Financial literacy is an essential life skill. Developing an understanding of money at a young age will help people better manage their money in the future, but people of all ages need to have the necessary tools to make informed financial decisions.
Banks are an active and essential part of the daily life of most Canadians – over 99 per cent of Canadians have an account with a financial institution -- and so millions turn to banks every day for services and advice to help them save, plan for retirement, start businesses and buy homes.
Banks’ commitment to financial literacy
Banks already provide their customers and potential customers with a wealth of educational material, information, tools and services to help them make the best financial choices. But the banks’ commitment goes well beyond providing financial advice to customers.
Banks are leaders in supporting financial education activities in communities across the country, helping millions of Canadians improve their financial skills. They do this by:
- providing financial support and volunteers for a variety of financial literacy programs run in communities across the country by educational and not-for-profit groups
- creating their own financial education programs and services for clients and the general public
- providing financial and volunteer support for the good work that not-for-profit credit counselling agencies do in local communities across Canada.
This investment in financial literacy is significant, and growing. In 2015, banks invested nearly $9.5 million in financial education programming across the country, an increase of more than 280% since 2010 ($2.5 million).
Bringing financial basics to the classroom
Banks recognize that providing young Canadians with information and tools to understand the importance of money management at an early age helps improve the financial literacy of Canadians as a whole.
In addition to the initiatives sponsored or led by the individual banks to promote financial literacy, the banks have also jointly supported a non-commercial in-class seminar since 1999 called Your Money Students. To date, banker volunteers have delivered more 8,000 seminars to more than 245,000 students across Canada, teaching them the basics of how to save, budget, protect and invest their money.
Improving the financial literacy of seniors
The CBA’s Your Money Seniors program, developed in partnership with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, provides seminars to seniors on the topics of:
- cash management in retirement
- avoiding financial fraud
- preventing financial abuse
Your Money Seniors is presented by bankers in the community volunteering their time and expertise and is available to seniors’ groups across the country.
How banks are helping
And banks support or offer many programs to help improve financial literacy, including:
- Talk with Our Kids About Money Day – Organized by the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education and sponsored by Scotiabank, this program provides materials for both teachers and parents to serve as a catalyst for discussions about money
- It All Adds Up – RBC has partnered with Free The Children to bring financial literacy into the classroom through a new package of lesson plans to help students learn how to earn, save, give and spend responsibly.
- Women and Wealth – Created by CIBC, this speaker series coordinates keynote presentations aimed at empowering women through an increased understanding of the inter-relationships between finance, health and family.
- The Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy (CCFL) – Funded by TD Bank Group, the Centre is dedicated to supporting financial literacy capacity across Canada and helps organizations serving low income Canadians with training and program support.
- CIBC Money Smarts – Created by CIBC, employees deliver Money Smarts seminars across Canada, helping Canadian and international students understand personal finances, credit and basic budgeting tools.
- Junior Achievement Programs – These popular programs are offered in schools and teach money management skills as well as business and entrepreneurship education. Several banks in Canada are supporters of Junior Achievement including CIBC, RBC, TD Bank Group, HSBC Bank Canada, Scotiabank, National Bank of Canada and BMO Financial Group.
- Learning with Leo – Created by RBC, this is an app designed to provide practical and fun ways to teach children ranging from age three – six about the concepts and value of money. It includes game and activities that help them develop a foundation of basic money skills.
- Day on Bay – Sponsored by Scotiabank, the Day on Bay is a Junior Economic Club of Canada program where high school students from across Ontario experience Toronto's Financial District firsthand while learning the fundamentals of finance.
- Money Matters – Sponsored by TD Bank Group, Money Matters is a free financial literacy and education savings program for adult learners developed by ABC Life Literacy Canada.
- Clearfacts.ca – This financial literacy website, sponsored by National Bank, offers articles and information for families, home-owners, students, and business owners.
Bank support for credit counselling
There are many community organizations delivering financial literacy to vulnerable groups across Canada and many of these programs are supported by banks and involve bankers. Not-for-profit credit counselling agencies provide help for individuals who are having difficulty repaying their debts. For example, banks provide volunteers for credit counselling boards. In 2016, they collectively donated $21.6 million to support not-for-profit credit counselling agencies that provide help and education to individuals who are having difficulty repaying their debts, more than a 40% increase from 2008 ($15 million).
Canada’s National Financial Literacy Strategy
The Federal Government has highlighted the importance of financial literacy. In 2014, it appointed Jane Rooney as Canada’s first Financial Literacy Leader. Ms. Rooney formed a National Steering Committee on Financial Literacy which includes CBA President Terry Campbell, and the Committee is tasked with supporting the implementation of Canada’s national financial literacy strategy.
After meeting with consumers across the country and the National Steering Committee, the Financial Literacy Leader released the National Strategy for Financial Literacy—Count me in, Canada in June of 2015. The strategy is a call to action for all Canadians to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to make good financial decisions and the banking industry is supportive of the strategy’s recommendations.
1 World Bank, Global Findex Database 2014: http://ow.ly/SfkaL