The banking sector in Bulgaria has adopted as its mission to support actively and to contribute for increasing financial literacy of the young people in the country as their knowledge on finances is highly beneficial and important for the society. For that reason, the banks perform activities on a regular basis in order to provide knowledge to the Bulgarian pupils about their activities and to provide support for the realization of different students’ initiatives, e.g. creation and development of the activities of the ”training banks”. Similar campaigns contribute to understanding by the kids how the banking sector functions and to acquire more knowledge on basic financial issues, e.g. basic rules on how to manage the money they have, how to make their weekly budget or how to save in order to buy the desirable things.
Key actors in financial education and financial literacy
A National Strategy of Financial Education is being prepared by the Government.
A brochure aimed at educating different parts of the population (pensioners and students) was developed and distributed. The Bulgarian National Bank has also developed and published a booklet on ‘Financial Services and Products Consumer Information’ embracing various detailed descriptions of key financial services and products, advices, guidelines for safe usage of cards, internet banking and distance services, information about possible ways of resolving disputes, etc. The booklet can be found on the website of the Central Bank. The institution is also active in granting scholarships. In March 2012, the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC), jointly with the High School of Insurance and Finance and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science, held a two-day training on ‘Financial and Economic Literacy’ for students from the 11th grade of the National Business and Finance School and the National Trade and Banking High School in Sofia. This is a new educational module developed by the three institutions to increase financial literacy of young people in Bulgaria. In March 2013, the Financial Supervision Commission launched a website dedicated on financial literacy. It was announced at the Open Days, organised by FSC within the Global Money Week, coordinated by Child and Youth Finance International.
Association of Banks in Bulgaria & members
A section called ‘Consumer Information’ is a part of the Association of Banks in Bulgaria (ABB) website. It includes sub-section, containing questions and answers on the most common financial products offered by the banks. They are divided into six sections: deposit products, loan products, bank payment cards and electronic banking, investment products, payments, deposit guarantee and investor compensation.
The ABB website also includes brochure developed by the ABB, the Bulgarian National Bank and the Consumer Protection Commission on the main aspects of the Consumer Loan Act.
The majority of banks in Bulgaria are very active in educating their clients and in increasing the financial literacy of the population. Many of them have developed dictionaries, support charities aiming at financial education, develop trainer ship programs, etc. Some good examples of those activities are the web application of one on the biggest Bulgarian banks that can be found on Facebook and YouTube in the form of a detailed financial dictionary and educational video clips. Another major bank has on its website very exhaustive alphabetical dictionary.
Junior Achievement is another non-profit economic education organisation. It educates and inspires young Bulgarians to value free enterprise, business, and economics to improve the quality of their lives. It also prepares them to succeed in a global economy.
The Financial Literacy Initiative Foundation is a non-profit organisation working for public benefit. Within its various projects is a unique national scale program ‘Say No to the Debt, Say Yes to the Money’ started on 15 April 2014. The project ‘My Life, my Finances – Financial Literacy for Youth’ aims to increase the financial literacy of students in upper secondary education, which is considered as a key skill for them on the verge of an independent life, etc.
Example of good practice
More than 20 years ago, several banks, together with other legal entities and physical persons, founded Atanas Burov Foundation that supports assistance and organises educational activities in the field of banking and finances for many years. Burov Foundation supports Summer Schools for students which is an expression of the foundation’s aspiration to support and prepare students for further successful labour achievements. For many years, the foundation has been providing scholarships for high school students and university students in the field of economics.
Financial education part of curriculum? No PISA financial literacy ranking (OECD, 2012): Did not take part