About Financial Literacy – an Interesting and Attractive Approach
Photos by Swedbank.
Just one month ago, the largest branch of “Swedbank” in Kaunas opened its doors in the business center ‟Arka” and now attracts the citizens not only with the convenient banking services but also with educational spaces focusing on the presentation of smart financial management.
Organizing financial education activities for many years, “Swedbank” has something to celebrate: dozens of programs for the smallest pupils and students from the universities of the third age teach financial literacy principles, as well as ingenious initiatives that engage and attractively explain even such, at first glance, dull things as ‟personal budget formation” or ‟economic cycles”.
‟Our attitude and involvement in financial literacy education are best reflected in the work that we’ve done and the ongoing implementation of various initiatives. For more than a decade, we’ve been directly contacting schools that invite us to the classes of economics, we are initiating events and activities that encourage the development of personal finance management competences in young people,” says Saulius Drasutis, the Managing Director of ‟Swedbank” South Lithuania Branch.
According to special studies that assess the financial literacy of young people, Lithuanian youth’s general perception of personal finance management is constantly growing, but the demand and relevance of financial education also become higher. The rapid pace and setting changes in the financial sector, smart modern tools lead to the fact that understanding is insufficient without constant practice.
According to the bank’s specialists, the constant formation of skills, starting at the earliest possible age, becomes very important: after all, the relevance occurs when the child gets his first money. So, if earlier, the bank representatives spoke more about the finances with older pupils, now they talk about money, personal finances with primary school pupils or even kindergarteners.
Being able to compare how the level of youth knowledge about finances changes, ‟Swedbank” representatives point out that young people are becoming more smart and intelligent year after year, they have more information and knowledge. But still, the sense of responsibility for managing your finances becomes relevant only when one begins to live independently or faces the first major decisions – such as study or housing loans.
Photo by “Swedbank”.
The extent to which education is focused on the development of financial literacy depends also on schools: some pay more attention to it, some pay less. As one of the means for raising the financial literacy of children ‟Swedbank” representatives mention the example of innovative Kaunas primary schools: they provide the possibility to pay by payment cards in canteens. In this way, with the involvement of parents, children from the early age are encouraged to learn how to manage their finances using modern means.
‟Our activities are attractive, very wide-reaching and involving everyone from the smallest to the oldest. For the little ones, we have special activities for the first acquaintance with money and modern financial management techniques, for senior students, we have interactive and attractive forms of education both in schools, in our bank, and in joint initiatives with other partners. We work with students from third-generation universities and senior citizens, helping them to get used to smart modern means of payment,” says S. Drasutis.
Among the most popular activities: there is ‟Financial Literacy Day” regularly organized in Kaunas schools – when all day is dedicated to different approaches to finances. Brain battle tournaments ‟I am business innovator” about economics and enterprise are organized together with Kaunas in-service teacher-training centre.
For the fourth year already, with the KTU Faculty of Economics and Business, the bank is organizing a Lithuanian-wide project ‟MEKA” for integrated economic, mathematical and financial management skills development. The contest attracts participants from more than seventy schools in all of Lithuania, and this year eight were in the final. Six of those schools are in Kaunas and South Lithuania region.
One of the most recent and most significant educational projects – ‟About the finances from the lips of 100 colleagues”.
Photo by “Swedbank”.
‟We launched this project on the occasion of Lithuania’s centenary and invited all colleagues from Kaunas and South Lithuania branch to visit their children’s schools, classrooms and talk about personal finance in March which was financial literacy month. The success of the initiative was evidenced not only by the impressions of our colleagues, but also by the sincere curiosity and activity of children,” says S. Drasutis.
Educational space: not only for young people, but for the whole community
Meanwhile, the bank invites not only the young people but also the entire community to their new office in the business center ‟Arka” and its educational spaces. Various lectures, lessons, guided tours, money laboratory activities may be held in this smart educational space. Visitors will find smart screens with e-lectures on economics and interactive games. Here, teachers can register and reserve spaces to organize non-traditional lessons. And any citizen or city visitor can visit this space and, with the help of smart screens, revise, refresh and enrich their economic knowledge.
At first, the new ‟Swedbank” spaces were tested by the employees’ children who participated in creative workshops organized on this occasion: the little ones were introduced to the new building, visited the sports and leisure rooms, could not only see where their parents work, but also find out how the bank works.
Visit the new ‟Swedbank” branch online at any time here: