Financial literacy contributes to the economic security of citizens and by extension to the stability of the financial system and the progress of society

There are many financial decisions that individuals and families have to make throughout their lives. Ultimately, it is about managing finite economic resources as efficiently as possible in order to maximise our present and future wealth, while being able to cope with adverse economic situations when they occur. Whether these decisions are sound depends to a large extent on the level of financial literacy of the population. By way of example, a Funcas study on citizens' financial skills shows that the higher the level of financial literacy, the more likely a person is to have a pension plan, to have an investment fund and to have saved in the last year, and the less likely they are to finance purchases with personal loans.

Clearly, financial literacy contributes to the economic security of citizens and by extension to the stability of the financial system and the progress of society. It is, therefore, a collective asset to be built by all of us and requires constant commitment and work. Let's take into account that, according to the Spanish Observatory for Household Savings, 44% of the Spanish population does not understand basic economic concepts. Moreover, the latest report of the European Central Bank places Spain in tenth position in the ranking of Eurozone countries in terms of financial capabilities.

While there is still a long way to go, it is also true that the steps taken in recent years are significant. It is, therefore, essential to continue to strengthen the public-private partnership set up as part of the National Financial Literacy Plan of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Bank of Spain and the CNMV, in which banks have been playing a key role year after year. Furthermore, in a context of increasing digitalisation of finance, it is a priority to broaden the training spectrum to include digital training as one of the pending issues in the face of the unstoppable advance of the technological gap. It should not be forgotten that the European Commission's target is for 80% of citizens to have basic digital skills by 2030. Today, in Spain, the percentage stands at 64%.

In this context, the banking sector's promotion of financial literacy programmes has been increasingly ambitiously complemented by digital literacy training projects. This combined effort is evident in initiatives such as the launch by the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks (CECA), AEB and Unacc of the web platform "Aula Financiera y Digital", just over a year ago, and recently awarded the Finance for All prize of the National Financial Literacy Plan. This is a unique project in Europe that makes available to the public all the training initiatives of credit institutions in the financial and digital fields. Its contents are classified into 14 topics of interest, including digitalisation, cybersecurity, savings and investments, as well as 7 differentiated groups, including people over the age of 65 and people with disabilities, young people and teenagers, and people at risk of exclusion.

After its first year of journey, the platform gives us an indication of what issues are the most interesting among the population. Thus, training initiatives related to savings accounted for 44% of enquiries, while topics related to digitalisation accounted for one in four visits. By groups, the options targeting teenagers and young people have motivated three out of four enquiries. This is encouraging, as the OECD recognises that people who receive financial literacy at an early age are better able to manage their financial resources throughout their lives. It is also worth noting that, thanks to the platform's educational offer, more than 245,000 customers over the age of 65 have received financial literacy and digital training.

Initiatives such as these undoubtedly demonstrate, once again, the commitment of credit institutions to the urgent need to improve the understanding of the financial reality in our country. A challenge that is more structural than sectoral in nature, the resolution of which transcends the capacity of banks to act and which must be tackled through collective collaboration. Not only because of their importance and contribution to the progress of individuals and society, but also because of the complexity of the determining factors involved in the financial dynamics of our country. These include the omnipresent digitalisation, the precarious employment situation of our young people, the ageing of the population, the vulnerability of a productive fabric of micro-SMEs and the growing volatility of the markets. Let's continue learning and continue to make progress together.