x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Firms face issues of trust over literacy programmes

Some consumers are dubious of the motives of corporations that sponsor literacy campaigns.

Some consumers are understandably wary of trusting financial firms that sponsor financial literacy campaigns in the Emirates.

After all, says Charles Evans, the president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, "the private sector has obvious incentives; they have financial products.

"They want people to use their products and not their competitor's products."

Financial firms contend that their initiatives are often a part of a corporate social responsibility programme aimed at helping their customers and the general public.

"It costs us money, but we do it because it's the right thing to do," says Jason Alderman, the financial educator director for Visa.

"Speaking for employees, we as Visa workers want to feel good about where we work. We want to feel that not only are we making good products and services, but we're also helping to contribute to society. And this helps us feel like we're making a positive contribution."

This is the third year that HSBC has partnered with Injaz-UAE for their joint "More than Money" campaign, which has about 100 volunteers who teach financial literacy to children aged between 11 and 13 for an hour a week for more than a month.

"HSBC is committed to improving financial literacy in the countries in which we operate for the benefit of both local communities and our shareholders." says Amaar Shams, the regional head of corporate sustainability at HSBC Bank Middle East.

"We believe that this programme will go some way in creating a young generation that understands the importance of financial education, and prepare them for the future."

nparmar@thenational.ae