The four day international workshop on 'Innovations in Youth Savings' hosted by HNB and organized by Women's World Banking (WWB) with the support of NIKE Foundation, successfully concluded on the 26th of April 2012. The workshop inaugurated by Mr. Jonathan Alles, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of HNB on the 23rd of April 2012 was attended by participants from 10 countries in the Asian, South American, Caribbean and African regions representing 12 financial institutions.
Mr. Alles in his opening remarks stated 'Times are changing, and very opportune for new thinking. Innovations in inculcating savings are essential to ensure financial inclusion for youth and the needs of the youth will only be known if interactions with the segment is facilitated'. HNB has been in the forefront of innovation with the introduction of the HNB Jumbo Till, School Banking Concept, Student Manager Associations, partnerships with hospitals and flagship product development initiatives catering to specific segments with Singithi Kiriketiyo, Lama and Teen, Savings options and Yauwanabhimana a youth empowerment programme which is the latest addition to the product umbrella of the bank. All such initiatives are backed by a strong segment based research initiative. Mr. Alles reiterated HNB's commitment to support inclusion banking with decades of experience as the flagship financial institution for innovation and product development and was confident that through discussion and exchange of ideas new opportunities would emerge to serve important segments such as youth.
Ms. Anna Gincherman, Director of Microfinance Products representing WWB said "Peer learning is a hallmark of the WWB network, and this conference was an excellent example. Participants came together to share their challenges and successes and will return to their institutions with new ways to bring financial education to more girls and increase access to financial services to young people, the outcomes will also be shared with our network and the broader financial services industry as a way to show that serving young women and girls can be both sustainable and socially responsible."
Areas such as innovative savings products, financial education tools, different outreach and distribution strategies for youth financial services and channels were explored during the workshop. The program was enriched by the opportunity to meet Student Managers from the HNB School Banking Units to get more insight into the School Banking Concept. The field visit to Galle was highly exciting, inspiring and a novel experience for most participants. The delegates were warmly welcomed by the manager and staff of HNB Galle Customer Centre, with a traditional breakfast table and the participants had the opportunity to have a meeting with the Southern Regional Manager and Manager, Galle Customer Centre. Also, participants were able to witness the operations of the HNB Customer Centre, visit the School Banking Units of St. Aloysius and Sacred Heart Convent. At each School they interacted with the Student Bankers and exchanged personal experiences, knowledge, exposure and the value of being a Student Manager of a School Banking Unit.
The participants ensured they reaped the maximum benefit by attending this workshop by openly sharing their experience, including challenges, proactively learning from each other and experiencing the different cultures among the group. Many participants expressed interest over the School Banking Concept and stated they will be looking forward to learning more about it to replicate it in their own countries. HNB received commendations for the its flagship innovations in youth savings and for the continued commitment over the last three decades sustaining the School Banking Concept to promote youth financial inclusion, ensuring profitability amidst its wide array of financial services catering to the commercial and retail customers.
HNB was chosen to be the host of the first 'Innovation in Youth Savings' workshop for being the pioneer in youth financial inclusion. HNB takes pride in its approach and initiative towards youth financial inclusion and the program was a valuable opportunity for HNB to showcase the innovations in youth financial inclusion in the international arena.
Participants of the 'Innovations in Youth Savings' International workshop with the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of HNB Mr Jonathan Alles.