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22 april 2015

Banks are committed to inclusion and financial education

For many years now, French banks have been implementing measures to facilitate access to a bank account and to payment instruments, particularly for customers in precarious financial situations.

 

Concrete measures for persons in precarious financial situations

Since 1 October 2014 and in accordance with the Banking Act of 26 July 2013, banks are proposing a commercial offer specifically designed for persons in precarious financial situations. For a total of 3 euros per month at most, it includes customised payment instruments and a specific cap on intervention fees. This banking service offer represents a straight continuation of the range of alternative payment methods to cheques (GPA), set up by the banking industry in 2005.


The banking industry is also taking concrete steps to promote banking inclusion and combat excessive indebtedness. In this regard, it has adopted the AFECEI Charter, approved by order on 5 November 2014. In particular, this Charter provides for the following measures:

  • Setting up one or more early warning mechanisms for customers in precarious financial situations,
  • Helping these customers, notably by offering payment, account management or lending solutions appropriate for their financial situation with a view to managing difficulties or preventing them from worsening,
  • Special training for Customer Account Advisors in order to ensure the efficient dissemination of the special offer to customers in precarious financial situations,
  • Accurate monitoring of the measures set up to support customers in precarious financial situations by the Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR) and the Financial Inclusion Observatory.


This Charter will come into effect by November 2015.

Prevention through financial education and budget management

The financial education and awareness-raising programme, "Les clés de la banque", led by the FBF has been enjoying growing success among members of the public, associations and social partners, notably thanks to its website (3.8 million page views in 2014) and the distribution of a collection of 60 mini-guides (500,000 copies).


On the ground, the FBF Bank Committees are continuing these efforts targeting social partners through partnerships with general committees and community social action centres and associations such as CRESUS: participation in "Journées du budget", co-publishing a handbook "Le Budget Grande Vitesse", etc.


Educational campaigns targeting youth are strengthened by providing slideshows to economics and social science instructors to help them prepare their courses. In 2014, 50,000 high school students were made aware of several issues: the role of banks in financing economic activity, consumption, domestic savings, etc. Simultaneously, budget management workshops are offered at Écoles de la 2ème Chance (Second Chance Schools), which welcome interns who are particularly vulnerable financially: 40 workshops were held, facilitated by a banking professional, in which 400 young people throughout France participated.


The banking industry participates in the work of the Financial Sector Consultative Committee (CCSF) on developing a national strategy on financial education. It is also closely monitoring the European and international work carried out by the OECD, the European Banking Federation (EBF) and the Francophone Banking Union.

 
 
 
 
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