There is a great need for financial inclusiveness in North Macedonia; financial literacy level is concerning
Organized by the Association of Financial Companies of North Macedonia, today a Presentation of the industry statistics and the results of the public opinion research on financial literacy, that was conveyed from September 11 to 19, 2019 by the Research Institute – Team Institute, took place.
Non-bank financial companies are the “youngest” segment of the financial sector in North Macedonia, which, although growing rapidly, still has a small share in both the total assets of the financial system and the total loan portfolio. Last year, the share of total assets was 0.44%, which is a significant increase compared to 2017 when it was 0.37%, i.e. 0.19% in 2016. Traditional financial institutions still have a dominant role in the financial sector, where the banking sector is responsible for 82.6% of the financial system’s assets, although its share tends to slow down (83.0% in 2017 and 84.7% in 2006). The percentage of the solvent population in the country serviced by these financial companies last year was 6%, and the amount normally borrowed was on average 200 to 400 euros. So far, the volume of loans they approve is not significant in the total debt of households and the corporate sector.
“Non-bank financial companies issued thousands of loans last year and built a portfolio of millions of euros, which is the best proof of the great need for this type of service in the country. Our activities are a kind of complement to the credit activity of the traditional financial system, especially for clients who have limited access to loans from traditional financial institutions. However, as this research confirms, FinTech industry’s impact on the financial sector of the country is not systemic, “said Filip Dimitrovski, President of the Association of Financial Companies of North Macedonia.
Regarding population`s income level and saving patterns, survey shows that there is great need for the financial inclusiveness, because, according the results, 12% of respondents do not have enough money even for food, and 57% can afford maximum food and clothing but that they do not have enough to buy household appliances, such as TV, refrigerator. Also, 44% of the respondents indicated that they are not able to make savings, because they have nothing to save, while 35% of those said they manage to save something minimal and could live with that support around one month. Although there is a large portion of the population lacking funds, research has shown that very few still use the available financial services, but at the same time there is little information on the opportunities offered to them, evident in the result that only 6% have taken non-bank loan in the past 12 months and high 52% didn’t used any of the financial services in the past 3 years. Therefore, this all proves that there is need for financial assets and FinTech industry is here for the right reason – to provide the money in the best client service manner on fast, simple and easy way without collateral, in the exact and small amounts in the situations that requires fast solutions, like home repairs, broken TV or purchase of home appliances.
To let people understand and know when to use which service, an effort has to be made on financial education of the society, because – as the research findings indicate, further improvement of the financial literacy of the population is necessary, which is indicated by the fact that 59% of the respondents self-evaluate their financial literacy as poor or average, and 36% pay no attention to their financial literacy and they need additional information. Financial education is also necessary when it comes to using the services offered by non-bank financial companies, due to the possibilities for financial inclusion of the population having limited access to the services of traditional financial institutions.
The Association of Financial Companies, which are part of the financial companies, unites the financial technology, known as the FinTech. The Association’s mission is to create a secure and responsible industry and practice, while explaining to the general public the various opportunities that alternative financial services can offer for the development of individuals and society as a whole. Hence, in order to promote the industry in the Macedonian financial market, the Association of Northern Macedonia Financial Companies is taking the initiative to obtain credible information from authorized researchers in order to create responsible development, such as this research. The plans of the Association are to conduct this type of research annually in order to follow the dynamics of the industry and to disseminate transparent and relevant information to society and stakeholders, as well as to stimulate topics of relevance to the whole industry. will position itself as a relevant source of information.
“The results, on the one hand, will help to further position us in the market and emphasize our role in financial inclusion of the population, but it is necessary to work on enhancing the financial literacy of the population. On the other hand, we believe that the results will also change the perception of this sector, as non-bank financial institutions are clearly an important and necessary segment of the financial system to provide overall financial inclusiveness. The association has been working to raise the level of financial literacy so far, and it will do so in the future independently, but also with all stakeholders, ”adds Dimitrovski.
The reliability of the research process conducted by the Team Institute was verified and approved by an independent, global auditing firm – BDO Audit, which issued an assurance that the researcher used appropriate sampling tools, procedures, and methods in accordance with the international audit standard ISAE 3000. to implement the research, in full compliance with applicable rules and procedures.
See the report here>>>