Karol Gabarretta

The Malta Bankers’ Association (MBA) has been striving to improve financial literacy across a broader spectrum of society, organising various events and initiatives to target those sectors that may be at risk of falling behind in an increasingly digital world.

“It’s difficult for people of a certain age, level of knowledge and education to be fully conversant with the intricacies of the digital infrastructure which is increasingly being utilised by banks and other players,” says Karol Gabarretta, Secretary General of the MBA.

The COVID-19 pandemic, he explains, was a catalyst that sped up the shift towards online banking locally.

Over the years, efficiency and security increased through significant investment by banks, but for those from the public who may have lacked sufficient know-how to adapt, such shift came at a cost.  

Within this context, the MBA regularly enters into “knowledge partnerships” with other organisations, and in the area of financial literacy, has collaborated with the Government’s financial education portal Ġemma.

Their most recent joint collaboration is aimed at providing essential elements for senior citizens as to how they may increase their confidence in accessing internet banking or using mobile apps.  

Mr Gabarretta says the initiative aims to “demystify issues behind the use of mobile banking and apps for users of a certain age who may not have been familiar in resorting to such channels.”

“We hope that through our input we will be able to encourage and attract more senior people to adopt digital methods to access and manage their own finances,” he says.

The MBA’s next series of events on financial literacy will be held as part of European Money Week, a Europe-wide event organised by the European Banking Federation.

The week’s events are largely targeted towards young people, but in keeping with the MBA’s efforts to improve financial literacy among adults, it will also feature a conference targeting women.

The event is being organised together with the National Council of Women and supported by the Central Bank of Malta.

Mr Gabarretta notes that the need for inclusivity in enhancing financial literacy is “all-encompassing”, arguing that such need cuts across, ages, genders, cultural and educational differences.  

“In Malta, typically, gender still seems to play a role,” he says, concluding by encouraging all women interested in learning more about some of the various aspects of financial management and literacy to attend the conference, which will be held on 24th March.

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