BRUSSELS, 31 October 2015 – People from throughout the world will take part this week in a global celebration dedicated to the virtue of saving money.
Called World Savings Day, it is being celebrated for the 91st consecutive year by the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute – WSBI – and its members who come from 80 countries. One of this year's themes is how savings provide funding to banks in the form of deposits, which then get converted into loans for small- and medium-sized business. Savings also form an especially important backbone for microfinance, which breathes life into start-up firms.
WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose said: "Savings have always created a nest egg, a rainy day fund – a way to financially 'smooth out' some of the uncertainty in an often uncertain world. It also forms a catalyst for economic growth. World Savings Day tells this story on a global scale."
World Savings Day: A rich history
Held every year since 1924 when it was inaugurated by WSBI, World Savings Day remains relevant for members who celebrate it in their local areas. This year's fête includes activities and events in many countries, including Austria, Germany, Spain and Italy in Europe; Kenya and Tanzania in Africa; Japan, Korea, Thailand and Sri Lanka in Asia as well as Brazil and El Salvador in the Americas.
Going further: WSBI Washington Declaration, MoU with World Bank Group
WSBI and its members have upped their commitment to connect more people to savings and retail banking through its Washington Declaration. The statement includes a new pledge by WSBI members to contribute to the World Bank's Universal Financial Access 2020 strategic goal.
Based on the current WSBI membership, the trade body and its members aim to reach 1.7 billion customers and 400 million new transaction accounts by the end of 2020. This numeric commitment reinforces WSBI's continued engagement with the 'Account for Everyone' goal first stated in its 2012-Marrakech Declaration. As at year-end 2014, members served a baseline total of 1.3 billion customers, which includes providing accounts for the poor worldwide.
Related to the declaration, WSBI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Bank Group to forge together a deeper commitment towards strategic goal of Universal Financial Access (UFA) by 2020 via a strategic partnership between the groups.
De Noose concluded: "For more than 200 years, savings and retail banks have bolstered a culture of savings among people. It's in our DNA. Today, we embrace the 'New Normal' posed by digitalisation, while keeping to our self-help roots and strong local ties all while expanding access."
>> Learn more about World Savings Day