One of the goals of institutions, companies and organizations is to put an end to social exclusion, in other words, to eliminate the inequalities between groups of people that don’t allow them to develop personally, socially and economically.

Social exclusion has become the norm on our planet. Poverty, inequality, vulnerability and marginalization are factors found immersed in social exclusion and they must be eliminated to create a fairer and more sustainable world.

In the same vein, inaccessibility to basic financing resources is one of the top problems that must be solved. According to World Bank, 32% of adults at a global level lack of access to basic banking services. And this figure increases when we talk about low wages and women.

With these data, financial empowerment is obviously essential to put an end to poverty and to allow prosperity, something that yields, as a direct consequence, social inclusion and the improvement of people’s quality of life.

Two key factors: social inclusion and financial empowerment

The development of society is impossible without economic prosperity. Therefore, social inclusion cannot exist without financial inclusion, which works as an engine to stimulate family and business economies.

That’s why the role of banking is really important in this field. First, as a facilitator of access to basic and quality financing products and services; Second, by adapting the offer to the possibilities of the most vulnerable people; And third, by promoting their financial education to know how to manage their resources.

However, even though the banking sector works really hard to reduce this social and economic gap, there is still a long way to go, especially if we take into account that three out of 10 people do not have access to these products; i.e. almost 1,700 million adults are unbanked, from which 230 work in the private sector and earn their salaries in cash. Also, even though 1.1 million of these people have mobile phones, only 25% have access to the Internet.

The Middle East and Africa are the places with a more unbanked population (57%), followed by South America and the Caribbean (40%), Europe and Central Asia (35%), Southern Asia (30%) and Pacific and Eastern Asia (29%).

The role of banking

Banks are totally aware of their role as a social agent and facilitator. Banco Santander bets on adopting an active role in social inclusion with the thought that its actions are vital to the most vulnerable communities so that they can access basic financial services. According to Ana Botín: “Economic and social progress go together”.

Santander Ayuda is one of the programs of the entity that bets on social inclusion the most

Banco Santander focuses its activity on those places where it can have a higher impact to aid people and companies. Thanks to its influence, it is capable of guaranteeing sustainable and inclusive growth, always focusing on three very specific points to carry out its plan of action:

  1. Ensuring that the population of the area where it operateshas access to basic financing services.
  2. Offering a series of products and services to support and contribute to the growth of the economy of people with low wages, families with economic problems and the most vulnerable groups.
  3. Developing programs and initiatives to promote the financial education of the population to learn how to take successful financial decisions.

Through these three points, Banco Santander has proposed to financially empower 10 million people across the world from now to 2025.

Santander Ayuda is one of the programs of the entity that bets on social inclusion the most. Through it, the bank supports, with 400,000 every year, a total of 80 social projects in Spain. Santander Ayuda was born in 2015 to collaborate with national NGOs with the goal of improving the quality of life of the most vulnerable groups and those at risk of inclusion.

Another important initiative is Prospera, of Santander Brasil. Thanks to Prospera, small Brazilian companies have the opportunity to develop, prosper and improve from an entrepreneurial point of view. In fact, more than 500,000 entrepreneurs in 600 localities of the country have been supported.

In the same vein, the program Tuiio succeeds in Mexico by offering special financing products to those people without access to basic services; and Superdigital, a mobile app that lets people carry out basic transactions without having a bank account. This platform is now used by more than 500,000 people in Brazil, Mexico and Chile.