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Visa Europe and IREX Help Romanians Prepare for the Unexpected

Almost 65% of Romanians struggle to manage their day-to-day financial needs. Combined with generally low levels of knowledge about financial matters, most Romanians are, according to one analysis, “unprepared for the unexpected.”

But now an innovative partnership between IREX and Visa Europe has resulted in more than 2,300 Romanians trained in the fundamentals of financial literacy in just a few short months. By learning about personal budgeting, savings, managing credit and debit, and other topics, the participants are now able to make more informed choices about their futures.

While Visa Europe had been instructing youth in financial literacy through high schools, they were looking for a way to reach adults. By leveraging IREX’s Biblionet program, participating libraries were able to serve as hubs for information on financial opportunities and training for adults.

Librarians from nine Romanian counties completed a Training of Trainers course on Visa Europe’s established curriculum, “MoneyIQ.” These librarians in turn trained nearly 100 of their peers. Each librarian was then able to instruct multiple patrons in financial literacy, resulting in an impressive multiplier effect in short order.

This public-private partnership put the role of libraries in financial inclusion to the test and demonstrated promising results. Mr. Catalin Cretu, Visa Europe’s General Manager for Romania, shared his enthusiasm about the initiative, “For us, the partnership with IREX Romania is very important because it opens a new horizon to which we haven’t had access until now: the network of public libraries in Romania and their patrons...Working together with IREX helped us reach our objectives related to financial education, and we want to extend our partnership in Romania in 2013, for the benefit of all those who want to learn how to better manage their personal finances.”