Ramaswamy Venkatachalam, MD, FIS India and South Asia inaugurated the “ Center of Excellence on Business Correspondence & Financial Literacy” on the 8th of June 2016. This center, based 60 kms from Mumbai in Virar, is part of the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of FIS India and implemented with help of the Delhi based NGO ( Charity Organization)- Society for Educational Welfare and Economic Development (SEED).
SEED’s key objective is to improve quality of life of socio-economically deprived and backward community in rural as well as urban areas of the country through implementation of various development programs towards sustainable development.
The project focuses on contribution to financial education and literacy generating awareness thereby improving the wellbeing of the local community. The deliverables and outcomes of the project are tangible and measurable.
Empowering youth is major aspects to be covered under the project. The youth are lagging behind because of lack of opportunities, skills set and confidence levels. Migratory population is also present in the area since it is an industrial belt. Channelizing their energy in right direction is most important in any industrial area, as unemployed and unskilled youth are most vulnerable and can easily be influenced by anti-social elements. Therefore, there is an urgent need for improvement of their knowledge base, skills set, personality development and changing their attitude towards growth, leading to increase confidence level to survive outside their village world.
The Center of Excellence will play a major role of a Literacy Center providing free financial literacy/education and credit counseling. This Center will be a mode of generating awareness about finances, banking, etc. It will be the centric point of implementation of training activities, meetings with target beneficiaries and all other program activities.
It will help train the community regarding various services of banks such as opening of accounts, early savings, budgeting, advantages of banking with financial institutions, concept of risk & reward, time value of money, awareness of banking services- various financial products and services from the financial sectors, advice regarding investments, need for nomination, insurance policies, investment in securities, value of securities, counseling for farmers and financial planning. The center will also help borrowers in distress with plans for restructuring debts, over dues on credit-cards, personal loans, home loans, calculations of interest and education on responsible borrowing.
Skill Enhancement training is ensured to all beneficiaries in an integrated and modern educational set up. The course ensures structure and process for imparting training, which is continuously evolved, validated and made sustainable.
Assessment and Certification
The three month course is currently training 45 youth in banking and financial services management and preparing them to be a business correspondent. Assessments are planned at regular intervals. This will include both theory as well as practical evaluation. After completion of training, convocation program will be organized by SEED, which gives special feeling of achievement to trainees. The certificates are distributed during the convocation.
The center will also provide assistance in placing youths in reputed banks, where they will need business correspondents. With more than 20 new small and payments banks starting operations between now and next year, there will be an increased need of field staff. This is a model that we are currently experimenting as part of our financial inclusion efforts.
It will only improve, once we start getting feedback from the course that is being delivered.