Multiple banks within the UAE have begun working on programmes to help customers be more financially literate.
There are a range of campaigns which have been created in order to provide education on Islamic finance, lending, mortgages; and any other financial aspect you might encounter in everyday life as a person living in the UAE, from finding the best credit cards to setting up a bank account.
Why it’s important
The aim behind it all is simple – for people to have a better grounding in understanding the workings and technicalities of financial literacy. It is considered more important than ever, following the global crisis, which is when a lot of the ideas behind these programmes originated, as a reaction to the aftermath.
What banks are doing
UAE Banks have pooled their resources into providing education for their customers – and their customers of the future too. Experts will advise children in schools and universities; while consumers can receive tips from financial literacy tours visiting shopping malls; and it is even in the pipeline for it to be taught within the curriculum.
Money management is one of the most crucial things a family can learn together, so that each generation has a certain level of understanding in managing their personal finances. And when it comes to running their own business, then business banking knowledge is essential to ensure your venture doesn’t fail before it’s started, simply due to financial illiteracy.
Examples of campaigns
Al Hilal Bank signed a deal with Emirates National Schools to provide to 5,800 students with a grounding in financial literacy in Islamic finance. Meanwhile, Visa Middle East spoke to the Ministry of Education to introduce it as a subject into the schools’ curriculum, available in various different languages.
The Emirates Foundation, which was set up by the Abu Dhabi Government to facilitate improved welfare for the population of the UAE have also been busy making plans. They are working with financial experts, banks and the private sector to create ‘Isrif Sah’ (Spend Right) – a programme of 100 Emiratis, trained to advise on personal finance – and which is eventually hoped to travel around the country.
Experts are saying that studies following the recession showed debt and a misunderstanding of financial knowledge to be prominent issues. One study in particular that was reported by Abu Dhabi University revealed that of the 200 people surveyed on their decision making skills, just one person out of those 200 answered all the questions correctly.
The survey included asking participants what a credit card was, what a debit card was, and for them to work out discounts and interest rates. So, all important skills for coping with financial implications arising from everyday life situations, and therefore something that people need to learn to help protect and improve the economy in the UAE for everyone. If this starts with learning to use a loan calculator and ends up with a consumer feeling confident in applying for the right amount of money, then it all helps the population by enabling everyone to be better at money management.