Our engagement with the
Building better relationships with our communities is important for us to gain real understanding and empathy with our customer communities.
The key aim of our community investment programme is to balance the needs of the community with strategic business concerns, and the issues that are imporant to our customers, customer representatives and employees.
- We are committed to investing time and other resources to support education and social welfare programmes, as well as contributing to enhance the financial knowledge of people in the communities in which we operate.
- Our global network of 22,000 colleagues helps us to be highly visible and valuable member of our local communities. In 2021, our community initiatives reached more than 7 million people and since 2017 we have invested £3.9 million in programmes to support the communities where our colleagues live and work
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 education which limits their ability to engage with the financial sector.
IPF invests in 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 them. Knowing this, IPF has developed financial education programmes over the past 15 years across all the markets in which our home credit business operates. These programmes provide the skills, knowledge and confidence necessary for making responsible, informed decisions about long-term financial wellbeing.
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 suit their needs.
Our community investment programmes aim to promote social inclusion by addressing the challenges that disadvantaged groups face in accessing opportunities.
The Invisibles – Czech Republic
During 2021, colleagues in the Czech Republic developed a highly effective campaign highlighting the plight of underprivileged, socially marginalised and excluded members of society. Extensive research revealed more than 10% of the population are deemed to be “Invisible”. The campaign highlighted five groups – Young Families, Lone Parents, Shadow Economy Workers, Poor Students and the Experienced but Unemployed. In addition to and extensive media campaign to raise awareness of this issue, the programme focused on building an effective platform to connect the Invisibles with public institutions and partner NGOs who can provide support. To date, the programme has attracted more than 15,000 visitors to its website and 4,500 fans to the dedicated Facebook profile. The next phase will involve engaging more NGOs and public sector stakeholders to endorse the programme. More media attention and a larger base of partner organisations will be instrumental in aiming for systematic changes which can effectively support the inclusion of the Invisibles back in society.
stARTs Scholarships – Romania
The stART Scholarship programme supports young people each year – talented young Romanian artists who would otherwise not have the opportunity to develop their talent. During the first five editions of the programme, 230 young artists have been able to focus on progressing their vocational careers thanks to this programme which is run in partnership with the NGO Scoala de Valori. With the help of these scholarships these talented high school students can purchase materials, equipment and anything else needed to prepare themselves as musicians or artists. They also benefit from counselling for their professional development and collaborations with well-known national artists.
Football Tournament for social causes– Mexico
Our Annual Football Tournament brings together our Mexican agents and employees to raise funds to support the work of 22 not for profit organisations. These organisations help individuals and communities facing health, social and economic strain by providing a variety of services such as medical and psychological treatment for children affected by cancer and their families, educational programmes for children with Down syndrome, nutrition programmes and language therapy.
Cooperation with Exempt from theory – Poland
Exempt from Theory is a platform created by the Zwolnieni z Teorii Foundation to help address the problem of young graduates entering the Polish labour market without any experience or key skills. The platform allows participants to initiate their own social projects and guides them through the planification and execution phases. It also gives them access to a mentor who can dispel any doubts they might have in managing the project as well as the opportunity to obtain a PMI’s Project Management certification. We established this cooperation in 2019 and since then, our colleagues have mentored almost 100 students from across the country.
Volunteering is an important way for our employees to engage with local communities. Every year our employees join our volunteering campaigns and spend thousands of hours helping the causes they care about. Our volunteering activities are organised at a local level in cooperation with our charity partners so that our voluntary work responds to the needs of the communities where we work and live while reflecting the interests of our people. Our focus on local communities as the beneficiary of our volunteering efforts has been particularly inspired by the results of the studies conducted by researchers from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. Based on their research, our team in Poland have amended their local volunteering programme so that it also impacts the well-being of our employees.
Our annual ‘Make a Difference in May’ volunteering event engages employees, agents and our local communities in mutually beneficial community-focused projects. In 2021 despite the pandemic we have all proved once again that together we can make a difference. More than 1,200 of colleagues across all our markets and Group head office in the UK actively joined our volunteering agenda.