About Linking for Change

It starts with savings

Today, 2 billion people lack access to formal financial services. This represents a pool of customers with the potential to save US$145bn a year. This global challenge requires global solutions. Financial inclusion – starting with supporting people to save – can enable poverty reduction, social equality and the economic growth of the next generation.

Since 2009, Banking on Change, the partnership between Barclays and the charities CARE International and Plan UK, has been using a savings-led approach to financial inclusion that has already opened up access to financial services, and given the skills to save, to over half a million people. It has developed a model for linking informal savings groups to formal banking services. Read more about the work of Banking on Change or watch the Banking on Change video.

Building a global alliance

To bring this solution to scale, many organisations will need to work together. That’s why Banking on Change has created the Linking for Change Savings Charter which sets out international principles for effectively and responsibly linking informal groups of savers to formal banking products and services.

The aims of the Charter

  • To set out international principles that enable organisations to effectively and responsibly link informal groups of savers to formal banking products and services.
  • To build a powerful global alliance of leading organisations, by 2015, who share the vision of this Charter and agree with its principles.
  • To receive commitment from corporate leaders to develop and roll out new savings products for poor communities in the developing world.
  • To call for universal financial inclusion to be included in any post-2015 UN development framework.

Download the charter

Sarah's story

Sarah Mutanda, a 23 year old farmer from Uganda
© Jon Spaull / Banking on change

Sarah Mutanda, a 23-year-old farmer from Uganda © Jon Spaull / Banking on change

“It has empowered us, especially the ladies, to do business. I am able to earn a living. I can provide for my family, and my husband no longer has to provide everything.”

Read Sarah's story
"This is the sort of thing that banking should be doing - it's about real people, taking out real loans, to do real things. Thank you to Barclays, Plan and CARE, and to the community for all you are doing. This sends out a great message to Tanzania, and to all of Africa."
Former US President Bill Clinton
"[Banking on Change's] core principles are simplicity, trust, responsibility and integrity. It starts with saving, rather than credit. Just as the bank crash occurred on a tide of testosterone, the new wave of banking is female-led and cautious. But its most radical feature is that it is happening among the world's poorest, the once unbankables."
Editor of the London Evening Standard Sarah Sands
"Linking informal savings to formal banking creates both social and commercial benefits. It has the potential to transform the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people, while at the same time, enabling us to support more customers and grow our business."
Barclays Group Chief Executive Antony Jenkins
"One of the most significant things we've learnt from this partnership is that we can't fulfil the scale of this ambition alone. We need further collaboration between banks, NGOs, governments and technology providers. That's why we're calling for input and support to establish international principles for savings-led financial inclusion..."
President and CEO of CARE USA Dr. Helene Gayle
"Here at Plan, we recently reached the one million members mark for our savings groups worldwide. Banking on Change, our partnership with Barclays and CARE, has been a vital and flagship project. We believe that young people must have better access to trusted financial services if they are to develop, but with so many people still lacking access to banking solutions, it is a problem that we must solve together..."
CEO of Plan International Nigel Chapman