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Digital banking Updated: 20 Sep 2018

Financial inclusion: a key tool to combat inequality

Financial education is now part of the G20’s strategic agenda. The role it plays in fighting equality is becoming increasingly well-known, making it a priority for companies working in the banking sector.

picture of financial inclusion young youth people education literacy bbva

The Aspen Institute’s First Movers Fellowship program published the report Tackling the Challenge of Financial Inclusion yesterday. The report describes the different initiatives “social intrapreneurs” are implementing in their companies to ensure universal access to financial education.

Toni Ballabriga, Global Head of Responsible Business at BBVA and a member of the program since 2010, explains in the report that: “Financial inclusion is a question of justice. It’s a question of freedom. It’s a question of dignity. It’s related to human rights. Without access to financial services, inequality is the result - and that leads to social disruption.”

picture of toni ballabriga aspen institute financial literacy education bbva

“It’s part of our responsible banking policy and embedded in our corporate purpose, which is to bring the age of opportunity to everyone,” adds Toni Ballabriga. The fight against social inequality is possible thanks to this financial inclusion, as it allows any family, regardless of their economic status, to have access to financial services that allow them to improve their quality of life.

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation: a flagship initiative due to its efficiency, transparency and good governance

The report also describes the BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s experience. Since the BBVA Microfinance Foundation was established in 2007, nearly $8 billion have been disbursed to facilitate the growth of small businesses created in Latin America. The businesses become a source of steady income, making them more prosperous and improving the well-being of their families.

Javier Flores, the Foundation’s Director General, added that “BBVA established the BBVA Microfinance Foundation as a non-profit institution to support sustainable and inclusive economic and social development of underprivileged people through Responsible Productive Finance - a mission that is very much in line with BBVA’s purpose.”

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation supports sustainable and inclusive economic and social development of underprivileged people

Its contribution to the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of poverty eradication, gender equality, inclusive and sustainable growth and decent work led the UN to invite the Foundation to join the Private Sector Advisory Group for the SDG Fund in 2015. Furthermore, in July 2016, the UN granted the BBVA Microfinance Foundation special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC).

The Aspen Institute: innovative Corporate Social Responsibility

Social intrapreneurs in companies are professionals who challenge organizations and promote projects that generate value for the company while also creating a positive social impact.

The Aspen Institute’s First Movers Fellowship program is a comprehensive program that provides social intrapreneurs with the inspiration, training and support they need to realize their potential to act as a vehicle for positive change.

“Social intrapreneurs in companies act as key mentors of corporate behavior. They see the possibility of generating business value and social impact where others do not. In doing so, they improve business performance and redefine how the company measures success,” according to the Founder of the First Movers Fellowship Program and Director of the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program, Nancy McGaw.