The banking industry is being subjected to twin forces in the area of customer education — from 'above' and 'below', as it were. As a result, the subject of customer education programmes has moved from the category of 'nice to have' (a CSR driver), to 'should have' (a commercial driver) and even 'must have' (a regulatory/public policy driver).
The forces from above are the concerted efforts of public authorities and national regulators, combined with supra-national bodies such as the G20 and OECD, pursuing an agenda of increased global financial access and financial inclusion.
The forces from below are actual and latent customer demand and the actions of competitors. These include the activities of a new breed of challenger banks and quasi-banks, with their origins in online delivery (particularly mobile), who are aggressively expanding the product suite beyond simple transaction services.
In fact, while the term financial literacy is in common parlance, the focus has switched to the wider concept of financial capability, a term that encompasses not just technical knowledge but the cultivation of attitudes and motivations leading to desired customer behaviour.
Customer Education and Financial Literacy: The New Banking Imperative sets out the background and rationale for the adoption of customer education programmes by the banking sector with an emphasis on online delivery as the only realistic and cost-effective channel for mass-market penetration.
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