- Building Society Association (BSA) commission report by MyBnk.
- 54% of societies providing financial education for young people.
- Greater focus needed on pensions and credit.
- Localism ‘trumps’ one-size-fits-all national approach.
Britain’s building societies are well placed to help stem the nation’s personal debt crisis at a grassroots level with better financial education for young people, according to a new report by MyBnk.
The nationwide study found that while 54% of societies are already helping youths learn how to bank and budget, a breakthrough could be made in developing long-term positive money habits with a central BSA vision, effective resources and youth sector collaboration.
Tens of thousands of 5-25 year olds are benefiting from dozens of innovative society projects using intergenerational advice and trained volunteers. However, greater efforts are needed to help youths make informed decisions on areas such as pensions and credit, says MyBnk.
The BSA has already established a working group to advance key recommendations of the study, while individual societies are continuing to develop their activity alongside experts from the youth financial education sector.
UK personal debt is at a record £1.45 trillion, 17-24 year olds owe on average £12,215 each (over half of which is not student debt) and despite curriculum requirements, less than half of young people receive any form of money lessons at school.
“Many societies are punching above their weight. They know their communities, the pressures they face and have an advantage over some national organisations by avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach. If they can address issues of resource, training and expertise, the sector can fulfil its massive potential to improve the financial wellbeing of wider society.” Guy Rigden, CEO MyBnk.
“MyBnk’s research shows that the building society sector is providing some excellent financial education ranging from the delivery of workshops, online resources and running school banks. Given their links to local communities and emphasis on building long-term relationships with members, financial education is a natural fit with their businesses. There is a considerable appetite to do more. We look forward to building on the report’s recommendations to develop the sector’s financial education provision through the new working group.” Robin Fieth, Chief Executive, BSA.
MyBnk examined the effectiveness and scale of the youth financial education efforts of 44 building societies and two credit unions. We also produced a road map to improve provision.