Provident Finance Plc. and the Hungarian Interchurch Aid are launching a comprehensive program to raise financial awareness among the most financially vulnerable groups in Hungarian society, giving them the chance to improve their living conditions. The pilot program of the initiative, based on Provident's financial support and the financial literacy of its colleagues, will be launched this year in the institutions of the Hungarian Interchurch Aid in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county in NE Hungary.
On behalf of Provident, it was Társadalomkutató Kft. [Society Research Ltd.] that conducted a representative survey of 1,000 people in the fall of 2022 on which groups in Hungary are excluded from access to legal loans. These are the groups whose members are the most financially vulnerable, as they are unable to access a regulated financial solution to a difficult life situation.
According to the research, 6% of the adult Hungarian population, around half a million citizens over 18, are excluded from the credit market, some of them due to a lack of adequate financial literacy. Most of them have low levels of education and their net monthly income typically does not exceed HUF 250,000. The research calls this social group the ‘the invisible’: they are the ones who, with the right financial skills, could have a chance to improve their living conditions. "Three quarters of ‘the invisible' have no more than a primary education, for whom any educational activity related to financial awareness is of paramount importance," Senior Analyst at Társadalomkutató Kft., Gyula Juhász highlighted.
The cooperation signed this Monday between the Hungarian Interchurch Aid and Provident Financial Ltd. aims to create opportunities for a selected group of people, the lowest income earners, for the first time in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county.
As part of the cooperation, Provident staff will provide financial literacy training to the staff of the Hungarian Interchurch Aid on topics including taxation, responsible borrowing, savings and family budgeting. Provident staff will be able to pass on the financial knowledge gained through the training directly and independently to families in need within their reach, helping them to make more informed financial decisions.
Provident will also support the financial education activities of the Hungarian Interchurch Aid with HUF 20 million forints as well as organizing financial awareness programs in the form of thematic events such as the experience day in the village of Boldogkőújfalu or the summer camp for children on financial literacy. The cooperation will be launched this year in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county as a model program.
According to the CEO of Provident Plc., Botond Szirmák, his company "proudly believes that everyone deserves a chance for a better life. That is why we are committed to improving the lives of the most financially vulnerable groups in Hungarian society, the 'invisible'. Our aim is to place even greater emphasis on developing financial awareness, continuing the work we started more than a decade ago."
As the President and CEO of the Hungarian Interchurch Aid, László Lehel pointed out, his organization “attaches great importance to raising financial awareness among disadvantaged groups. For the poorest, it is especially true that well-considered financial decisions can make a tangible difference to their livelihoods, while bad decisions can make a family's situation even more precarious. The current economic situation makes Provident's forward-looking initiative particularly important. We expect significant results and lessons to be learnt from this complex multi-year program."
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