Globally, Young people access financial services at roughly half the rate of adults.  According to the World Bank’s Global Findex database, youth are 40% less likely to save at banks and 60% less likely to have borrowed.[1]  Without these services, young people have fewer means to manage their assets, invest in education, or grow businesses.  In response, youth inclusive financial services programs are working with regulators, financial services providers, and informal savings group promoters to increase young people’s access to appropriate savings, credit, payment, and insurance products.  At the same time, recognizing that youth often lack the knowledge or experience to use services effectively, programs are offering financial education and life-skills training and information to boost financial capability. 

Over the past three years there has been a growing awareness of the importance and viability of finance for youth among service providers.  However, overall access has not changed significantly, with the proportion of youth savings and borrowing formally barely changing.  In response, youth-inclusive practitioners are looking more closely at the potential of new technologies to boost access and capability - at digital payments and mobile wallets to lower the costs of providing services, “big data” to help banks understand the youth market and reduce the risk of lending, and smart phones to offer new convenient and inexpensive means to teach financial education to youth.  At the same time, there is renewed interest in old technologies such as savings groups to expand access to youth.  Through these new and old technologies, practitioners are working to boost financial inclusion significantly among youth.


The Role of Hatton National Bank in Creating Access to Financial Services for Youth in Sri Lanka

Hatton National Bank (HNB)

Originally published in 2009 and updated in August 2011, this case study explores the role that Hatton National Bank (HNB), a prominent commercial bank in Sri Lanka, has played in providing financial services in rural areas and to vulnerable populations. HNB focuses on serving the youth through two programs: 1) establishing Student Banking Centres in schools and 2) targeting youth in rural areas in their village microfinance programs to receive both financial and non-financial services.

Resource Type: 
Case Study

Chapter 2: Role of Government and Policy

Despite the potential for win-win alliances between governments and members of the YEO field, YEO partnerships at the national level are still few and far between. Topics from the 2011 GYEOC ranged from bigpicture items, such as the role of government in enterprise development, to specific approaches, such as how YEO programs can collaborate with an education system. Discussion centered on the following:


Making Cents International wishes to acknowledge and thank the hundreds of organizations and individuals that contributed to building the 2011 learning program by participating as sponsors, Global Advisory Committee members, contributors to the global consultation, presenters, session reporters, volunteers, exhibitors, interns, and vendors. This publication is the result of a year-long — and more broadly, a five year — collaboration with partners that work to increase and improve economic opportunities for young people around the world.


This publication is a consolidation and synthesis of the lessons learned, promising practices, common challenges, and recommended next steps that participants highlighted during Making Cents International’s 2011 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference (GYEOC). Rather than an exhaustive review of global practice, the publication features the current state and evolution of the field. The experiences and ideas in this publication detail how many members of the global community are building upon the past and working towards achieving ambitious goals for the future of the field.