|Bank Affinity Credit Union|
|Client Individual Development Accounts Programme|
|Location Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada|
The City of Saskatoon has the youngest population of any urban area in Canada and around 800 teenagers are not in school. While a number of social initiatives address the needs of youth in such areas as athletics, arts, and social development, no programme has specifically addressed financial development as an essential life skill for young people. That is until Affinity Credit Union introduced a programme to help youth improve their financial and life situations while enhancing their education at the same time.
‘The programme helps participants build self esteem and confidence at a critical time of life, when they can enter the workforce, assert their financial independence, and contribute to their community.’
It is called the Individual Development Accounts (IDA) programme. The programme teaches young people how to manage their financial affairs, save money towards a goal, gain employment skills and build toward gainful employment or continuing their education.
Participants are required to make several commitments such as stay in the programme for at least 10 months, work as an employee or as a paid volunteer in the Saskatoon area, save $40 a month and set a goal for the savings, such as education, job training, housing or other future investments.
Savings accounts are set up at Affinity where all fees are waived. Every dollar saved by a participant is matched 2:1 by a donor. Led by Affinity Credit Union, the IDA programme helps participants build self-esteem and confidence at a critical time of life, a time when they can enter the workforce, assert their financial independence, and contribute to their community.
The programme proved so successful that in 2011 it was recognised as a leader in financial literacy by the Government of Saskatchewan who approached Affinity to provide leadership on a like-minded programme throughout the province. The provincial programme, named Individual Achievement Accounts now works with Boards of Education and community partners to teach marginalised youth how to manage their financial affairs and to save money towards a goal.
Affinity is proud to work with the Provincial Government to enhance financial literacy, Affinity also welcomes the opportunity that both financial literacy programme offer to demonstrate the significant social impact it has on the communities it serves.