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BBVA points to digitization and inclusion as financial education's greatest challenges

The BBVA Center for Financial Education and Capability has published the 2021 EduFin Position Paper, a document that represents the Center’s position on the current state of financial education at a global level. This report highlights the role of financial education and its challenges in contributing to a more sustainable society in the post-COVID recovery phase. According to the study, digitization and financial inclusion will be key. Its publication coincides with Spain’s Financial Education Day, which is celebrated on October 4 with the slogan ‘Your finances, also sustainable.’


The 2021 EduFin Position Paper was created through a process of reflection and debate carried out by the BBVA Center for Financial Education and Capability, which, as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, raised an initial question: How can financial education contribute to a sustainable and inclusive recovery?

Based on this question the Center has prepared a document to establish its position on the current state of financial education and its role in the post-COVID world. It is based on relevant research as well as interviews with the most renowned international experts in the field. 

The report concludes that financial inclusion, digitization, sustainable development, cooperation between stakeholders, and the improvement of financial health, are the main challenges in the field of financial education. The five main conclusions of the document are: 

1. Financial inclusion and financial education are key elements for a more inclusive recovery.

Financial education can be a very useful tool in building a more resilient society because it helps people acquire the ability to use financial resources and services, meet their financial obligations and reduce the effects of economic shocks, especially when it comes to people who suffer the consequences of financial exclusion.

2. The pandemic has accelerated the acquisition of technology, as well as the digitization of finance

Improving the level of digital financial education can be key to reducing the digital gap and improving the access to digital financial products and services. It is especially important for certain population groups.

3.  The crisis has highlighted the importance of having good financial health

Money is the number one cause of stress in people. Financial health, in addition to affecting finances, impacts people's physical health and social well-being. Empowering societies financially through the provision of financial knowledge and the development of financial capabilities can help improve their financial health and achieve financial well-being.

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4. Boosting sustainable development is presented as an unprecedented opportunity

Financial education can act as a facilitator in raising societal awareness about the urgency of climate change and can favor the acquisition of the knowledge needed to integrate sustainability into our personal financial decisions, so that we can all be part of the change through access to sustainable finance.

5. Stakeholder cooperation is essential in order to achieve a more sustainable and inclusive society

Financial inclusion, digitization, and financial education are key enablers for inclusive growth and sustainable recovery. The challenges that arise after the pandemic require a coordinated response through the development of policies that increase resilience in a structural way. A successful implementation of national strategies involves “clearly identifying the shared roles and responsibilities of all relevant actors according to their experience, strengths and resources.” Private sector’s contribution is important, but generally reduced to the implementation of programs with little or no participation in the design of national financial strategies. In addition to providing financial resources, the private sector can also contribute with its experience by facilitating access to consumers, designing digital products for all audiences and being present at the so-called teachable moments.


Discussion and reflection

The identification of these five areas of action and the development of the approaches and recommendations that were raised from the initial question were obtained through interviews with the center’s experts, a review of the most relevant research studies and the launch of a public survey, whose conclusions were reviewed by a panel of experts and members of the Center's Advisory Council.

The Center’s position in each of the proposed areas of action was publicly discussed at the global financial education summit, EduFin Summit 2021, held in May 2021, where leading international experts in each area participated helping to broaden perspectives and bring new approaches to each topic.

A reference in financial education

The final result of this work is the publication of the ‘2021 EduFin Position Paper.’ Its objective is not to provide conclusive solutions to the challenges of the sector, but to indicate the key areas of action for the coming years and offer basic recommendations for stakeholders who wish to get involved in the field of financial education, either in the public or private sphere.

Therefore, the purpose of this document is to:

  • Provide a point of reference for those responsible for defining and developing public, private and collaborative financial education programs and initiatives.
  • Promote collaboration among stakeholders.
  • Raise issues for research and their implementation.
  • Inspire new debates around the challenges facing financial education and its potential to contribute to a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable society.

A milestone in the Center’s history

BBVA's Center for Financial Education and Capability was launched in 2017 with the aim of promoting financial education as a lever to improve people's financial health and access better opportunities.

In its four years, the center has compiled and published more than 550 reports, articles and good practices on its website and over 64,000 unique users have accessed its digital content.

In addition, with the collaboration of over 100 national and international organizations, it has launched various initiatives and programs in each of the countries where BBVA is present.

All of this confirms financial education as one of the fundamental levers in BBVA's Corporate Social Responsibility policy, with more than €91 million invested in programs that have reached over 29 million people since 2008.

The publication of ‘2021 EduFin Position Paper’ represents a new milestone in the Center’s journey and reinforces its mission to promote education and financial skills throughout the world and create a more sustainable and inclusive society.