Charter principles

The Banking on Change partnership has proven that no-one is too poor to save, and savings-led financial inclusion works.

The Charter sets out the international principles that enable organisations to effectively and responsibly link informal groups of savers to formal banking products and services. By following these principles we can transform the lives of the world’s poorest communities. For people living on less than US$2 a day, membership of savings groups linked to banks can increase economic security and resilience, and open up opportunities to fulfil their potential. For example, we’ve found that savings per member increase by between 40% and 100% after a group has been linked, which means members can take out bigger loans to invest in businesses or cover school fees.

1. It’s a win-win investment that brings social and economic rewards

Global financial exclusion can be reduced by responsibly linking poor savings groups to formal financial services. This will bring both social and business benefits.

2. Banking the poorest is possible

People living on $1-2 a day are bankable. New products and services can be designed to reach them – particularly women and young people who are generally the most excluded, but can also enable the greatest social change.

3. It starts with savings

Savings are a springboard to responsible financial inclusion and there are nine million savings group members who can be linked to formal financial institutions. This can provide greater security and more sustainable services for the user, as well as business benefits for the provider.

4. People come first

Consumer protection and transparency must be front and centre of efforts to link informal savers to formal institutions and, crucially, must be demand-driven not supply-driven.

5. Financial education matters

Greater investment must be made in expanding access to financial education. This is particularly true for young people. Practical involvement in financial activities facilitates economic growth and supports sustainable small enterprise development and job creation.

6. No one can do it alone

Collaboration between banks, NGOs, governments and technology providers is key, and offers an exciting new business model for taking financial inclusion to scale. By working together we can create the right environment for change post-2015.

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