Banca Comercială Română (BCR), the Association for the Promotion of Performance in Education (APPE / Asociaţia pentru Promovarea Performanţei în Educaţie), the Ministry of Education and Infomedia România have launched “From Playtime to Financial Education” (“De la Joc la Educaţie Financiară”), a programme which will help 23,000 preschool goers from seven counties (Bucharest, Sibiu, Dolj, Constanţa, Cluj, Timiş, Iaşi) receive course materials (books and software) for free and 7,000 teachers will be trained to deliver financial education lessons in kindergartens.

“From Playtime to Financial Education”, initiated by BCR in co-operation with the Association for the Promotion of Performance in Education (APPE), the Ministry of Education and Infomedia România, will take place in 2016, beginning with April and will involve activities regarding training and informing children, teachers and parents about basic financial education aspects, in order to support personal development and, implicitly, community development.

“Children’s financial education should begin at an early age, when they start asking for the first candy, the first toy. Children should be familiar with money, with its value, with how it can be spent with a sense of responsibility, with how it can be saved, invested or donated to charity”, stated Ligia Goloşoiu, the author of the new book for preschool children and of the books on financial education for 3rd and 4th graders. One out in ten 3rd and 4th grade children have read the materials released by BNR together with Ligia Goloşoiu, 45,000 children have participated to financial education classes, and the course was chosen as the most popular one at school last year.

The main source of financial education for Romania’s young adults remains the family, with a percentage of 95%, while school holds a percentage of 9%, and banks only 5%, according to an Erste study, carried out by IMAS International. “From Playtime to Financial Education” aims at offering children the chance to have access to financial education as early on as possible, and even to increase the level of education, together with their parents or family.

“Romania has a low level of financial literacy, just 22%, budget planning is an unknown concept for three out of four Romanians, and regarding the bankarization rate, we are ranked 124 out of 143 in a global ranking, according to recent statistics. In this context, an early beginning to financial education is a must, and “From Playtime to Financial Education” is the answer to this need. Also, we considered the fact that 95% of Romanian’s financial education comes from family, which is why the book also contains problems which children can solve at home, together with their parents, who can add other information to those obtained at the kindergarten,” says Dana Demetrian, Vice-President of BCR’s Retail&Private Banking Department.

“The “From Playtime to Financial Education” programme aims at promoting the concept of financial education for preschool children, with activities for the trio parents-children-teachers and, also, to nurture the children’s respect for work and money,” statedViorica Preda, General Inspector of the Ministry of Education.

Once again, the new programme dedicated to preschool children ilustrates BCR’s constant preoccupation and consistent investment in strengthening Romania’s children and young adults’ financial knowledge. In 2008, BCR supported the creation of the first book of financial education for high-school students, developed by the “Junior Achievement” non-profit organisation, together with the Ministry of Education and with BCR, who financed and contributed with over 500 consultants as volunteers for its implementation in schools. Moreover, in 2009 BCR launched the “Money School”(“Şcoala de Bani”) campaign, which combined theoretical lessons from two books, “Guide for conversations between your pocket and your money” (“Ghidul de conversţie între buzunar şi ban”) and “Guide for increasing money” (“Ghidul de creştere a banilor”)with fun elements and instruments used in managing the family’s wallet. Also, in 2-13, BCR and Erste Bank, together with the National Museum of Romanian History and the Ministry of National Education, carried out the “Fabulous World of Money” (“Fabuloasa lume a banilor”) financial education project, which consisted of an interactive exhibition and o competition of financial topics dedicated to children from various grades, from 1stgraders to 8th graders.

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Banca Comercială Română (BCR), a member of Erste Group, is the most important financial group in Romania, providing universal banking operations (retail, corporate & investment banking, treasury and capital markets), and covering specialty companies working on the leasing market, private pensions and housing banks. BCR is Romania’s No. 1 bank in terms of asset value (€14,4 bn.), in terms of client base and in terms of savings and crediting. BCR is also Romania’s most important financial brand, judging by the client trust rate and by the number of persons who consider that BCR is their main banking partner.

BCR uses a network of 22 corporate business centres and 23 mobile offices devoted to corporate clients, and 511 retails units located in most communities inhabited by at least 10,000 citizens in order to provide a full range of financial products and services. BCR is Romania’s No. 1 bank running on the banking transactions market, since BCR customers have the largest ATM network at their disposal – nearly 2,000 ATMs and 13,500 POS terminals, enabling customers to use their cards for shopping purposes, as well as the complete Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, Phone-banking and E-commerce services.

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Erste Group is one of the main suppliers of financial services in Eastern European Union. About 46,500 bank officers working in 2,800 branches in seven countries (Austria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia) assist 16.2 mn. customers. Erste Group reported a total asset pool worth €202,6 bn. and a 56.1% cost-to-income ratio at the end of Q1 of 2015. First-ranking common equity index (Basel 3 implemented partially) has improved to 10.2%.

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