To make the right money decisions people need the right help
We spoke to Poovandran Pillay about the importance of consumer financial education
Poovandran Pillay – Head of Client Engagement, Nedbank
Nedbank’s approach to Consumer Financial education is one that aims to realise what it means to be Money Experts Who Do Good for individuals, communities, businesses and society. Through the delivery of face to face Consumer Financial Literacy and Education training across all 9 provinces, the Nedbank Group leverages both traditional and social media platforms to create opportunities to transfer skills and knowledge to all South Africans.
This is not only about how to simplify banking and addressing banking needs by providing people with the right information and tools to make more informed money decisions.
We spoke to Poovandran Pillay about the importance of consumer financial educatio
- What have been some of Nedbank’s major successes in the area of financial literacy
Nedbank’s major successes in the Financial Literacy programme has been our ability to reach and empower over 990 000 adults, close to 400 000 youth through the Starsaver programme in collaboration with the Banking Association of South Africa and 3000 entrepreneurs through our partnership with Nedbank Small Businesses Department and Proud of My Town programme.
Nedbank is seen as one of first member banks to digitise and use gamification to change the way in which they share the Starsaver content in 2015 according to BASA. Furthermore, we have also been recognised as one of the leading banks driving Financial Inclusion across various segments.
Some of our most recent successes has been our ability to be agile enough to adapt and still deliver a 5-week Financial literacy and Education campaign reaching more than 3.7 million people through traditional media like community-based radio stations under the constraints of COVID19.
- How important is it to generate a culture of savings in South Africa – what trends have you observed – and what do you see as key to achieving this?
I think before we answer how to generate a culture of savings, it’s important for us to understand why it’s so important for us to save as South Africans.
According to various reports that showcase the Savings Index, particularly the Investec GIBS Savings Index, our savings levels in South Africa are at their worst level since 1990 and have declined for eight years in a row. This is a clear indication of a country that finds it difficult to save.
The trend observed is that most South Africans do not save or find it very difficult to save due to low levels of income, lack of financial literacy like budgeting skills and mismatched job skills resulting in high levels of unemployment.
Savings is so crucial for personal wealth creation and the growth of the South African economy. Key for us to achieve a higher level of savings, an improvement in investment, and South Africans living with a decent retirement we see the following as key to focus on:
- Through programmes like Starsaver, teaching kids at an early age to understand the importance of saving and the benefits of saving early.
- Continue to drive Financial Literacy and Educational initiatives to increase awareness throughout their Youth and Adult working life.
- Creating job opportunities in order to reduce the unemployment rate and provide the right environment for individuals to earn an income and save.
- Drive practical and tangible financial education programmes that will influence real decision making around money.
- Create or leverage platforms/ technology that gives easy access to content and tools to equip individuals to make better money decisions and to adopt a prudent spending and savings habit.
- Developing banking products that serve the needs of South Africans that find it difficult to save and expensive to bank, thus enabling and encouraging individuals to bank and save.
- What do you see as the key differentiators in terms of Nedbank’s approach to consumer financial education?
Our differentiating factor is not only encompassed in how we enter a community or deliver the face to face programme and the relationships that we hold, but just as important is how we integrate with other parts of our business to empathise and really understand the needs of individuals, communities, businesses and society.
Through our unique model we leverage community research and insights that enable us to tailor how we deliver financial education and the key topics for us to focus on, so that the value delivered is focused on addressing the needs of those individuals or communities.
- How has technology impacted on the delivery of Nedbank’s financial literacy programmes?
In order to remain relevant and to move with the times, Nedbank is always playing a leading role in the digital space. We started with our digital financial literacy programme journey in 2015 by converting our learners programme into a digitised and gamified solution. That was followed by the conversion of some of classroom-based training material into short video learnings.
To date we are also leveraging and continuously improving our website to share all financial literacy and education information. We are also using a lot of traditional media as in radio and digital channels like social media to increase our ability to reach more and create awareness. We have seen so much positive response and engagement to the way we use technology in the financial literacy space. We have reached and empowered more than 3.7 million listeners and viewers on both radio and TV during the nationwide lockdown and have engaged with more than 150k individuals on social media.
We still strive to continue improve our technological engagements with our audiences by increasing more technological channels to reach the masses of the country.
- Would you like to send a message of support to individuals out there struggling to survive?
Currently the world is facing a difficult time socially and economically because of the Covid19. South Africa is also not spared. We know and understand that a lot of South Africans are losing jobs as companies struggle to survive and some shutting down.
We advise people to look out for supporting structures in the form of relief programmes around their areas. The government has come out strong to support both individual and companies with various programmes. Organisations including banks are also playing their part to support government in their efforts to provide relief to the general public. Nedbank is also one of the major role players in providing relief to their clients, businesses and communities through various solutions and programmes called Proud about my Town.
We support the government by assisting them with the distribution of food parcels in various identified nodes as well as government social grants. We are participating in the business rescue scheme through SAFT. Nedbank is also providing relief to its clients in various form including payment holidays and affordable loan products to their clients.