Financial education for low-income Romanian households

Project brings together microfinance institutions in Romania to strengthen the financial capability of clients

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Bucharest – Supported by Citi Foundation, the "Financial Education Project" aims to strengthen the financial capability of low-income households, so they can protect their scares resources and build assets through regular savings and smart debt decisions.

The project will reach 25 local trainers and counselors from all microfinance institutions in Romania, who will gain knowledge and expertise in delivering high quality financial education workshops and counseling sessions to low-income people in both urban and rural areas. The Training of Trainers (ToT) will take place between December 5 and December 9, 2011, in Timisoara.

During the project, more than 375 vulnerable individuals will improve their basic financial practices by learning how to create and use a repayment calendar, calculating their own savings capacity, planning and putting to practice an internal emergency fund and starting to save.

"At Citi, we are happy to partner with Express Finance and Microfinance Center in Poland in order to improve and accelerate the financial inclusion of low-income individuals through a consistent regional program across Romania, Ukraine, Poland and Bulgaria. Through a 'more than philanthropy' approach, we once again commit the strength of Citi's business resources and people to help improve communities where we live and work," said Cristina Staiculescu, Communication Director at Citibank Romania.

"Nowadays, microfinance is more than finance. It is about educating our clients, limiting their exposure, caring for the communities we serve and developing their businesses," explains Mr. Cristian Jurma, General Manager at SC Express Finance IFN SA.

Express Finance IFN S.A

Nonbanking Financial Institution is a joint-stock company with foreign equity, whose major shareholder is CHF International. CHF International is a non-profit corporation in the USA, which addresses various programs with the appropriate social, environmental and economic solutions in order to ensure that the communities can manage and sustain their future development at a steady forward pace. After 11 years working through CHF International, Express Finance is the institutional successor of the operations for business and housing loans to the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) sector and individuals in Romania. Express Finance is continuing CHF's strategy in assisting the clients who want a simple and convenient access to loans. Additional information may be found at www.express-finance.ro

Microfinance Center

Established as a non-profit organization in 1997, Microfinance Centre (MFC) operates as a microfinance resource centre and network of more then 100 microfinance institutions in over 30 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. MFC mission is to contribute to poverty reduction and human potential development by promoting a socially oriented and sustainable microfinance sector that provides adequate financial and non-financial services to a large number of poor families and micro-entrepreneurs. As a regional microfinance industry facilitator MFC seeks to develop best practices, stimulate innovation and influence industry approaches. By 2011, the MFC has trained over 1000 local educators and reached out to over 100,000 low-income households in ECA regions through a number of financial education initiatives in the countries of transition including Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Slovakia, Macedonia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Tunisia, Romania, Bulgaria. MFC is the lead partner in this project. More information about the Financial Education Program can be found at www.mfc.org.pl and mfc-highlights.blogspot.com.

Citi

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

The Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of individuals and families, particularly those in need, in the communities where we work so that they can improve their standard of living. Globally, the Citi Foundation targets its strategic giving to priority focus areas: Microfinance, Enterprise Development, Youth Education and Livelihoods, and Financial Capability and Asset Building. The Citi Foundation works with its partners in Microfinance and Enterprise Development to support environmental programs and innovations. Additional information can be found at www.citifoundation.com.