Our engagement with the
Community

The key aim of our Group community investment policy is to balance the needs of the community with strategic business concerns, the issues our customers and agents find important and the aspirations of our employees.

Our community investment programmes deliver benefits to the community as well as benefits to our business through reputational advantage and employee engagement.

  • We are committed to investing in our local communities and have invested over £6.5 million in a combination of financial literacy, local development and enterprise initiatives
  • We are also focussed on engaging employees through community development and have donated 130,000 employee hours in volunteer initiatives
 
 

Our products are financially inclusive and often appeal to consumers who may be underserved by mainstream banking.

Our personal experience with these consumers has shown us that although they may be very skilled at household budgeting they have typically received no formal financial literacy education which limits their ability to engage with the financial sector.

IPF implements financial education initiatives as part of its community investment programme as a complement to financial consumer protection and regulatory reforms, as well as policies aimed at reinforcing financial access and treating our customers fairly. 

Framing the issue

There are varying levels of financial literacy across the markets where our home credit business exists. However, as a majority of our home credit customers are underserved by banks and generally have little to no credit history, financial education is an important issue for our customers. Knowing this, IPF has developed financial education programmes over the past 10 years across all the markets in which our home credit business operates. These programmes aim to help our customers and the wider communities we operate be more financially literate and to use this knowledge to their advantage. These programmes provide the skills, knowledge and confidence necessary for making responsible, informed decisions about their long-term financial well-being.

By ensuring our customers and the general public are equipped with the skills needed to manage their own finances, we not only enable them to engage with the financial sector, we also secure our business as a responsible provider of consumer credit. Developing a consumer base that is informed and knowledgeable allows us to further engage with our customers and provide products that undoubtedly suit their needs.

POLAND – "What about the dough"

The What about the dough blog is a programme of financial education developed by young people for their peers. 

Three young people - selected through a casting held by three popular Polish bloggers - write the coztymhajsem.pl blog.  They write about their daily, true experiences with adult finances. They are not experts - they do not teach.  They share their observations, ideas and encourage readers to join the discussion. 

The concept of the blog has been developed in such a way as to combine authenticity and spontaneity while following the plan and delivering the educational objective.  An experienced editor helps the authors to organize their work, verify topics and coordinate the entire project.

Some of the blog posts are based content-wise on the results of a cross-sectional research which involved the young generation and investigated their circumstances, habits and beliefs on personal finances. 

MEXICO – "Let's talk about money"

Financial Literacy in Mexico is a key step towards achieving real economic stability. Therefore, Provident Mexico has made a special effort for over seven years to bring basic information on managing personal finances to the communities that need it the most.

Since the beginning of this programme in 2008 and up to 2015, we had reached around 20 thousand people. In 2016 we had reached 36,275 which represent the focus we had given financial literacy in our CSR programme.

Success of the programme is possible also thanks to strategic alliances such as Junior Achievement Puebla and Jalisco Fundación Nemi, Museo Interactivo de Economia (MIDE) and Save the Children. We also delivered “Let’s Talk Money” workshops to three institutions thanks to the active participation of Provident volunteers. 

Our cooperation with Save the Children is to offer customers and families (especially women) information to help improve their personal finances.
Additionally, we are creating strategic alliances with other organizations that specialize in job training and education, in order to bring financial literacy to more people in every community we have a presence in. 

 

HUNGARY - Family Treasure Programme

The Family Treasure Programme co-operates closely with professional and public affairs contacts from the government, financial sector and NGOs in order to help develop and deliver practical education tools for the public school system. It has been cited as ‘best practice’ by various experts, including professionals from the Money Compass Foundation of the Central Bank of Hungary and the State Audit Office of Hungary.

The curriculum is publicly available from the web-site and Facebook page of the Programme, also uploaded to the National Education Portal and it is used by many teachers, social workers and community education professionals across the country.

The objective of the programme is to improve the financial stability of households by enhancing financial and economic skills. Additionally, this programme aims to improve the overall economy by encouraging a more financially savvy population. About 30,000 households and 300 professionals have benefited from the programme by participating in training directly and indirectly.

CZECH REPUBLIC – ABC of Family Finance

Objective of the ABC of Family Finance programme is to enhance the knowledge of the adult population by focusing on three main areas of financial education: basic legal rights, responsible borrowing and family budgeting. It aims to support general public in managing their finances better and preventing indebtedness.

The learning materials for ABC of Family Finance have been transformed into an E-learning course available on the project’s website. A mobile application has also been developed to help manage personal finances, with many useful tools such as calendar reminder of payments due and remaining weekly or monthly budget based on income and expenses. 

Content of the e-learning programme was developed in cooperation with respected NGOs and experts in the field of financial education. The programme is in strategic cooperation with partners such as the Financial Arbiter of the Czech Republic, Debt Advisory Centre and the Czech Consumer Association. 

ROMANIA – Financial Stability programme

Provident Romania has developed a comprehensive website on financial education with practical information and tools on managing personal finances. 

The site features news and stories about the budget, credit, investment and financial stability, as well as tips and ideas on how to build a budget, how to save and where to invest, how to advance your career or what choices people have as entrepreneurs. One of the tools is also a diverse calculator to measure for example spendings but also a degree of people's satisfaction! 

In previous years, the Financial Stability programme organised a series of seminars across Romania with an expert on financial stability touring the country. 

 

BULGARIA – Family Finance programme

Backbone of the financial literacy programme in Bulgaria is an awareness-raising website and social media channel. The objective of the programme is to increase the financial culture of Bulgarian public and also of Provident Bulgaria's current and potential customers. 

In 2016 Family Finance road shows took place in Bulgaria to spread awareness on financial literacy topics. The programme has been included as an example of good practice in the Bulgarian Financial Literacy Map, a project mapping financial literacy initiatives across the country. 

A respected economist and financial expert regularly writes articles and posts on programme's website and social media. Most successful articles have also been published in national newspapers to yet increase their reach among general public. 

Our Community investment programme focuses on activities in the areas of Education and Social Welfare. Initiatives in our markets range from supporting disadvantaged or vulnarable children, young people or people in difficult social, economic or health conditions.

Our aim is to help the beneficiaries build a better future through long-term investment and impactful partnerships. 

Romania: stARTs Scholarships

Since 2013 Provident Romania's core community investment programme has been providing scholarships for artistically talented young people with unstable economic background. The programme provides participants with resources to buy necessary equipment and supports them in accessing competitions and creating connections with artists so they can grow and improve their technique. Each year at least 50 high school students participate in the programme.

Poland: Code your future

Code your future is an initiative that Provident Polska is implementing in cooperation with CodersTrust to address the need for professional development opportunities in some rural and urban regions of Poland. With this grant programme, people from different age groups can complete a four-month course in basic coding which prepare them to acquire freelance jobs in the global IT market, whilst enabling them to earn a living from their hometown. 

Bulgaria: SOS Children's villages 

Provident Bulgaria commenced cooperation in 2016 with an international charity organisation SOS Children's villages. Together they support children in risk of losing parental care as well as centres for public support. For each new customer Provident will provide a contribution to the functioning of the organisation in the cities of Sofia and Veliko Tarnovo. Donations from internal charity campaigns will also go to this partner. 

Czech Republic: House of Three Wishes 

For more than four years Provident Czech Republic has been cooperating with a centre for disadvantaged children and young people in Prague. The organisation offers free-time activities, learning support and psychological support to children from families with troubled background. Provident engages in several activities with this partner throughout the year and the traditional Christmas fund-raising also goes here. 

Mexico: charitable football tournament 

For more than twelve years Provident Mexico organises regional football tournaments across the country to support local communities and NGOs. In its 12th edition more than 900 employees gave their time and energy as volunteers and team players to support the charitable work of 22 non-profit organisations all over Mexico. Organisations also receive funds collected from participation fees, sale of refreshments and a donation for every goal scored. 

Hungary: charity drives 

Throughout the year Provident Hungary is engaged in several fundraising campaigns to support worthy causes. In 2016, a charity drive was launched to celebrate Provident’s 15th anniversary. With the objective to fulfil the dreams of children in need, Provident employees were invited to nominate families where help was needed within their communities. Through the proactive Christmas campaigns initiated across the country, our Hungarian colleagues raised enough funds to make fifteen children's dreams come true.  

IPF head office: Swallow Hill school 

Through our five-year partnership with Swallow Hill Community College, our colleagues at the Leeds head office have helped to raise the career aspirations of at least 420 students by providing peer-to-peer mentoring, participating in Let’s Talk Career events and other activities that have introduced students to career pathways that they might not have thought possible. Facilitated by Business in the Community, this partnership has allowed our employees to offer their professional experience and promote skills development in their local community. 

Employee involvement is an important aspect of how we invest in our communities.  

Most of our businesses facilitate and encourage employee volunteering where we look to link volunteering with skill development or use it as a way of bringing our values to life. Volunteering is typically organised at a local level so that each branch can respond to the needs of its local community and activities reflect the interests of employees who have the chance to nominate projects.

In 2016 over 2,700 employees across the Group volunteered over 3,500 hours in company time. Further employees participated in volunteering in their own time, contributing another almost 2,800 hours to worthy causes. 

  • Our Yes! I help! programme in Poland mobilised over 400 volunteers made up of employees, agents and even customers to deliver local projects including renovation of public and green spaces and work with schools and children’s groups.
  • Provident Romania saw their operations teams across the country renovate local schools and kindergartens with over 200 employees and agents taking part to help improve the quality of life for their beneficiaries, especially children from rural areas of the country.
  • Our Hungarian business mobilised about 400 volunteers to support the Guardian Angels programme, donating approximately 1600 hours to help under privileged social and educational institutions.
  • In the Czech Republic almost 200 employees participated in volunteering days, in Prague and regional towns. Causes included helping in children's homes, schools for children with special needs, centre for people with disabilities or cleaning a natural heritage area.
  • Provident Mexico gets its employees involved in deciding where and which causes the organisation should support. Employees helped on a wide range of causes and more than 1,100 employees participated in company time.