Leonardo da Vinci Partnership
Austria, Italy, Portugal
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which
may be made of the information contained therein.
Financial Literacy Report: Austria
1. General information
Already before the current financial crisis, 300,000 households in Austria (8,6 percent) had
massive debt problems. The Viennese debt counselling organisation (description see below)
reported that in 2007 they had 6,500 new clients, with the number growing each year. In
Vienna, they estimated the number of people who have debts that cannot be resolved with
150,000. However, many people do not make use of the counselling offers because they feel
ashamed or they still believe that they will be able to resolve the debt problems by
themselves. They try to find a way out of their threatening situation where they have almost
no chances at all.
In 2006, 7500 individuals declared their private bankruptcy. This figure means a 12 %
increase from 2005. In the same year, 1,8 million execution titles have been approved by the
courts (the total population in Austria is 8 million). The average debts are 65.000 Euro.
The general assumption is that debts that cannot bemastered are due to excessive
consumerism, wrong investment and/or careless money handling. Having debts also leads to
social stigmatisation and a negative spirale of social and economic opportunities.
2. Living standard in Austria
The latest survey about monthly expenditures shows the following situation
Items € per month %
Food and non-alcoholic beverages 207 12,7
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco 47 2,9
Clothes, shoes 89 5,5
Dwelling, energy 373 22,9
Furniture, tools, garden, services for 99 6,1
Health 53 3,3
Traffic 252 15,5
Communication 44 2,7
Leisure, sports, hobbies 205 12,6
Education 11 0,7
Restaurants 93 5,7
Other 154 9,5
3. Types of debtors
The classification of debtors can be made according to the analysis of interviews:
Crisis debtors: people become debtors due to a critical event in their life
Poverty debtors: these people can also be classified as classical multiple problems case,
because their indebtedness is mostly only a by-product resulting from other problems, e.g.
broken social relationships, aloholism etc.
Requirement debtors: people who have high expectations and put high rquirements on their
consumation and lifestyle
Forceful debtors: people who have an uncontrollable urge to consumerism, mostly in cotext
with debt feeling and depressive mood
Deficit debtors: people who are not able to manage their household due to deficits in
A special risk groups are young persons. Young people are being targetted by the economy as
separate target group for certain products. When they start with their own household, a (used)
car and the equipment for a flat is frequently financed through a credit, whose dimensions are
being wrongly estimated. Up to one third of young people in Tyrol cannot manage his/her
money matters and consequently finds him/herself in massive debt problems at the age of 20.
4. Legal framework
Private bankruptcy offers insolvent individuals a new chance for adjustment of their debt
situation. This judicial procedure has been introduced in Austria in 1995. Currently, …
persons have undergone this process.
Stately recognised debt counselling organisations (see below) play a specially important role.
They are being acknowledged by the Ministry of Justice and they represent the debtor without
fees at their process that is either out of court or in court.
For private bankrptcy, the person has to address the district court. In order to open a private
bankruptcy process, the following conditions must be met:
The debtor has to be insolvent
The debtor must not be an entrepreneur
The debtor must have tried to settle the debts out of court
The debtor has to present a payment schedule
The debtor must gurantee that the costs of the process can be borne by him/her
The legal requirements for wage seizing are determined in the execution legislation and can
be downloaded via the legal information´system of the Federal Chancellery.
The precondition for wage seizing is that the operating creditor has made an application for
wage seizing at the district court. The court will grant this application without checking
whether the claim is justified or not.Therefore the court notifies the debtor that such an
application has been made.
5. Debt counselling organisations
There are various organisations offering help and advice for people in debts. In 2006, 18.000
people contacted the debt counselling organisations for the first time (+ 3,1 %/). However,
still a larger number of people do not know about this service, or they believe that they do not
Schuldnerberatung Wien (Debt Counselling Vienna)
Die Schuldnerberatung Wien has been established in November 2005 by the fusion of two
precursor organisations (Schuldnerberatung des Fonds Soziales Wien, Verein für Kredit- und
Wiedergutmachungshilfe KWH). It is a non-profit counselling organisation that offers advice
free of charge for people living in Vienna. Their focus is on information about juridical
aspects in connection with debts, a joint analysis of the economic situation of the client, and
the elaboration of possibilities for solving the problems. In addition, they offer support in the
preparation of private bankruptcy and they accompany the client during the bankruptcy
The counselling process can be characterised as follows:
Transfer to other counselling Problem can be solved in one single
organisations telephone call
Information to Labour office
(personal counselling, telephone counselling for back-up
· Analysis of the individual situation Adjustment of debts not
· Analysis of the height of debts possible at the moment:
· Joint elaboration of a realistic reorganisation plan the client need concrete
· If necessary, integration of other institutions for support help from other
during secondary problems organisations
· Definition of concrete steps
· realisation of these steps
· Finalisation (e.g. new pro rata payments,
progress payments, private bankruptcy)
Amount of debts
Average debts in Euro
2005 2006 2007
74.483,– 75.357,– 76.407,–
>100.000 Euro 16,10%
50.000 - 100.000
< 50.000 Euro 61%
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%
Average distribution of debts 2007 in Euro
delivery of energy
state administrative body and justice
0 5.000 10.000 15.000 20.000 25.000
In 2007, 4.550 persons have made a first contact („new clients“), in addition to 1.867 persons
who had used the service alreayd before (“old clients”)
More men (56 %) than women are clients, and their debts are also higher. Also, non-
Austrians were four times more frequently clients than Austrians citizensss. However, the
average debts are 10 % higher at persons with Austrian nationality.
Webportal der Schuldenberatung in Österreich
The web portal of the Debt Counselling organisation Austria offers:
First steps: was a debtor should do when he/she has problems
Forms and checklists: Useful tools to help to elaborate a way out of debts
Credit costs calculation
Household budget tables
List of counselling organisations
Workers’ Chamber Upper Austria, offering the following themes:
Financial Crisis: advice for savers and investors
What happens if my bank goes bankrupt?
Is my money save also at foreign banks
Should I distribute my money in sevral banks?
What happens with federal Loans?
Are life insurances also affected?
How safe are shares and securities?
How safe are private pension funds?
Information to the following themes:
Saving loan with a building company
Household finance plan
Information to the following themes:
The rights of consumers – overview
How to reduce insurance costs
Shopping per mouse click
Children and young people Kinder und Jugendliche als Verbraucher
Money handling from the ppsychological point of view
Bad news: Life becomes more expensive. Good news: you can do something against it
Saving with the household book
free download of a household bnook (Excel file): http://www.spartipp-
Live well with you rincome
Bank negotiations: how to avois traps
Lending, sharing, exchaning
Energy saving tips
Good food for little money
The debt rap
From credit to overdebts
6. Financial education
Some adult education centres offer evening courses or workshops to financial themes:
Die Wiener Volkshochschulen - Institut für Weiterbildung in Wien:
Consumers rights and sustainable consumation
Contents: DOLCETA (Development of On-Line Consumer Education and Tools for Adults)
is a long term project supported by the DG SANCO of the European Commission (directory
general health and consumers rights). It runs from 2004 until 2010, and develops a series of
online units for consumer education that may be used directly by the consumers or by teachers
and trainers in adult education. Currently DOLCETA develops a module that will support
teachers to promote responsible and sustainable consumation at all age levels.
Interactive web modul for trainers
Target group: Staff and trainers working at Wiener Volkshochschulen GmbH
Volkshochschule Retz (Lower Austria)
Get your money back from the tax office
Contents: The income tax from salaries amounts to almost 18 billion Euros. In this course,
participants will learn how to use all legal possibilities to save money from the income tax.
7. Other links and resources about financial management
Privatkonkurs – Schuldenberatung in Österreich
Fond soziales Wien – Schuldenberatung
Service für Privatpersonen
Household finance, debts, private bankruptcy etc.
Webportal der Schuldenberatung in Österreich
financial information system
Komission der Europäischen Gemeinschaften
Webportal des Bundesministeriums für Finanzen (BMF)
Offizieller Amtshelfer für Österreich
Pleite? - Broschuere
Information about private bankruptcy and debt organising processes
Handy – Guide, Alles was Recht ist
Information and tips how the mobile phone does not become the source of financial problems
Bundeskanzleramt – Rechtsinformationssystem
Finance and debt counselling for students, monthly counselling dates
The Cash on Tour – Broschüre der ARGE Jugendinfos
Information about money themes
Risiko - Check der Bundes Jugend Vertretung
The risk check offers a possibility to check the debt situation and offers also advice how to
Financial Literacy report
THE ITALIAN FINANCIAL SYSTEM ..................................................................... pag. 3
Legal reform and privatization .................................................................. pag. 3
The process of concentration .................................................................... pag. 4
Internationalization ................................................................................. pag. 4
THE BANKING SYSTEM IN ITALY ....................................................................... pag. 5
The 'public‘ character .............................................................................. pag. 5
Specialization Banking ............................................................................. pag. 5
The Inter-ministerial Committee for Credit and Savings (CICR) ..................... pag. 5
Ministry of the Treasury ........................................................................... pag. 5
Bank of Italy .......................................................................................... pag. 6
The bank's origins are lost in the mists of time ........................................... pag. 6
Banca D'Italia: "Monetary policy and banking system" ................................. pag. 7
Financial innovation and monetary policy ................................................... pag. 7
The transformation of the banking system ................................................. pag. 7
Supervision in Europe .............................................................................. pag. 7
TRANSPARENCY, FAIRNESS AND PROTECTION OF BANK CUSTOMERS................... pag. 9
Compliance ........................................................................................... pag. 9
Transparency ......................................................................................... pag. 9
MiFID ................................................................................................... pag. 9
Anti recycling ......................................................................................... pag. 9
The Bank and the citizens ........................................................................ pag. 9
Protection of savings ..............................................................................pag. 10
THE ITALIAN FINANCIAL SYSTEM
Legal reform and privatization
The current structure of Italian banking and finance is the result of a
complex process that has modernized the structure and led to full
integration into the European market.
The main stages in this long journey, which began about twenty years
ago, were the reform of the sector, which culminated in the adoption of
the two texts (concerning Banking and Finance), privatization, an intense
process of consolidation and the gradual opening of the system abroad.
The adoption of a universal banking model, including through a joint
group, marked the final overcoming of supervisory addresses pursuing
stability attributing to the different categories of banks specific market
segments, according to criteria of operational, institutional and temporal
Privatization at the same time have had a major impact on the
characteristics of the banking market and have promoted operators’
adoption of assets that are more efficient and suited to competition.
In the last two decades the share of assets managed by public banks fell
from 70 to about 8 percent.
The privatization process has been marked by two distinct steps: adoption
of the corporate form by public banks and the subsequent alienation of
shares, in turn implemented through competitive procedures, direct
negotiations, placement of the capital with a widespread audience of
Consistent with the developments of the system, the institutional
structure of supervision has been affected by a significant evolution. The
model now in place, although with some exceptions, distinguishes the
powers of supervisory authorities on the basis of the purposes of the
actions, on one hand the stability of intermediaries and the system as a
whole assigned to the Bank of Italy, on the other , transparency and fair
conduct in respect of clients entrusted to the National Commission for
Companies and Stock Exchange (Consob).
The acceptance of the new rules of the securities markets and investment
services, which are contained in MiFID, has confirmed this division, placing
at the same time the need for constant coordination between the two
authorities which has been formalized with a set of regulations joint issued
The process of concentration
Since the early nineties the degree of concentration in the banking market
has significantly increased. The phenomenon has for some time been
following trends arisen in the international context and has been
encouraged by enlargement of the global capital markets and, in Europe,
by the adoption of the Euro.
Over the past ten years there have been over 300 mergers, as a result of
which a total market share exceeding 50 percent has passed hands.
During the same period the number of banks decreased from 935 to 806,
while groups from 87 to 82.
In the 2006-07 biennium, in particular, consolidation also affected the
larger intermediaries: the beginning of 2007 saw the integration between
Banca Intesa and Sanpaolo IMI and in the second half of the year the
UniCredit and Capitalia aggregation took place.
As a result of the merger, the share of the assets in the domestic market
concerning the top five groups increased between 2000 and 2007, from
48.6 to 51.5 per cent, according to this indicator, Italy is in second place
after France, among the major more concentrated systems in Europe.
Consolidation was accompanied by an improvement in operational
efficiency and profitability of the banking groups in Italy, now in line with
major competitors in Europe.
The modernization and consolidation of the banking market have
encouraged expansion in international markets. At the end of 2007 the
Italian groups abroad were 21 and the weight of foreign units on total
activity stood at 25.7 percent, for the first five groups the weight of the
foreign units was proportionate to 35.3 percent.
A decisive impetus to internationalization has been gained over the past
two years by groups with which the major intermediaries in Italy have
created major groups in Europe, with the objective of increasing
economies in scale and benefitting from the synergies associated with
expansion of the markets of reference.
The major cross border operation (UniCredit-HVB) has affected banks
based in Austria and Germany. Expansion to the countries of eastern
Europe has been significant, where the opening of economic systems has
revealed significant opportunities for development. The most recent
initiatives have focused on the Caucasus area and North Africa.
The presence of Italian banks abroad has traditionally been influenced by
location of customers, which often followed the move. The preferred
modes of operation for the expansion has been the establishment of
branches and representative offices, that is, the setting up of partnership
agreements with specialist counterparts.
THE BANKING SYSTEM IN ITALY
The banking system of our country is founded on the principle of
specialization of credit. At the heart of the system that is comparable to a
planetary system is the Bank of Italy which occupies the place of the sun,
while other banks may be considered planets. For this reason, the Bank
of Italy is also called the central bank or bank of banks. The two
fundamental principles that characterize the Italian banking system are
The 'public‘ character
According to the Banking Act of 1936 that still rules our banking system,
the raising of funds among the states public in whatever form and
operation of the credit functions of public interest. This principle justifies
the control of public authorities (referred to as the monetary authorities)
on the establishment of banks and other financial intermediaries in
general, as well as management of credit.
After the negative experience of the economic crisis in the thirties that led
to a rescue operation of the banks operating in Italy, a clear separation
between the pursuit of short-term credit up to 18 months given to
ordinary banks, and the exercise of medium/long-term credit, competence
of the special credit institutions was introduced into our banking system.
Let's see briefly what are the roles of monetary authorities, i.e. outside
General Economic Planning (CIPE).
The Inter-ministerial Committee for Credit and Savings (CICR)
This body was founded in 1947 and is made up of members appointed by
the government and the governor of the Bank of Italy, who becomes
chair. ICRC is responsible for "high vigilance regarding the protection of
savings, concerning function of credit and currency.” The committee
determines the policy concerning credit and its deliberations are the main
guidelines for action by the Bank of Italy and the State Treasury. In
particular, let’s remember that the CICR is responsible for managing the
credit operations for those economic sectors that are considered
appropriate to stimulate the economy.
Ministry of the Treasury
This political body in addition to overseeing the tasks of governance and
public expenditure management plays a role in policy, and general control
over the Bank of Italy.
Bank of Italy
Besides being, as we know, the only issuing bank in our country, the Bank
of Italy as responsible for supervision of the CICR delegation and the
Ministry of the Treasury exercises control over the entire Italian banking
It therefore has the power to order inspections of the banks taking view of
financial and other records. It also gives general guidelines on all
transactions and banking services. The Bank of Italy is the most important
organ of our banking and monetary system and is the supreme head.
The bank's origins are lost in the mists of time.
Not so those of central banks. Their entire history is condensed in the last
three modern-contemporary centuries. For all of them we can fix the
precise date of birth: 1668 for the Central Bank of Sweden, 1694 for the
Central Bank of England, 1800 the Central Bank of France, 1814 and 1817
respectively for the Bank of Holland and the Austria, 1850 for the Bank of
Belgium, 1875 the Reichsbank, 1882 to that of Japan, 1893 for the Bank
of Italy, 1913 for the Federal Reserve System of the United States.
This litany of seemingly precise dates can be misleading because the
Central Bank as an institution was not born and defined as we know it
today. The Central Bank is a body which has evolved over time
progressively gaining more functions, tasks and new increasingly complex
‘faces’, building gradually more intricate relationships with the rest of the
banking and financial system, with political power, with the Economic
system in general. " So Carlo Maria Cipolla (in the preface of the first
volumes of the Historical Collection of the Banca d'Italia) invites reflection
on the identity and the functions of a central bank in the making.
The Bank of Italy was established in 1893 as part of an overall
reorganization of the issuing institutions. In 1926 the essentially public
position of the bank received an important recognition: the Bank of Italy
became the only institution authorized to issue notes and were given
supervisory powers over other banks, subsequently expanded and
strengthened by the Banking Act of 1936. This also formally recognized
the Bank as an institution of public law and would have been the
fundamental norm of the Italian banking system until 1993, when the Act
in force was promulgated. In 1947 the operation of stabilization of the Lira
was a crucial crossroads in the history of the Institute, the post-war
inflation was truncated and the monetary conditions for the 'economic
miracle' of the fifties were laid. In the Constitution of 1948 the principle of
protection of savings was introduced. After the shocks in the seventies
that had shaken the international monetary system and the Lira, the
process of disinflation was promoted in Italy through a more decisive legal
protection of the autonomy of the central bank. The regained stability of
the lira and the launch of the new stability of public finances have allowed
Italy to, in compliance with the criteria set by the Treaty of Maastricht
(1992), be part of the first group of countries in 1999 to adopt the euro as
its currency, the banknotes and coins began to circulate in 2002.
Banca D'Italia: "Monetary policy and banking system"
The intervention of the Governor of the Bank of Italy, Mario Draghi, 11
July 2007 in the Italian Banking Association (ABI) assembly, stresses the
transformation of the Italian banking system, the need to improve the
quality of corporate governance, the importance of internal controls. The
governor announced that the supervisory arrangements in respect of
Compliance have been approved and will be shortly made public; the
specific rules of governance of banks will be issued. Here is a summary of
Financial innovation and monetary policy
The spread of financial innovations, the emergence of new products and
intermediaries, the changing structure of financial markets change the
importance of different channels of transmission of monetary policy, the
analysis of monetary aggregates and credit, their role in monetary
management. In the transmission of monetary impulses the role of the
banking system tends to diminish. If the recent changes in the structure
of financial markets are confirmed permanent, banks are increasingly
characterized as agents that give rise to financial reports and then
combine them and partially place them on the market.
The transformation of the banking system
The Italian banking system has been strengthened in terms of size. The
consolidation of banks is only a starting point. The reorganization will be
considered successfully completed when the increase in efficiency
provided by the plans to be realized. The market expects savings form the
pooling of technology platforms, from integration of distribution channels,
higher labour productivity. The greater number of operators will increase
national competition. A condition for success is the quality of corporate
governance. Clarity of objectives, rational division of responsibilities will
guide choices. The Bank of Italy is attentive and active, it will continue to
monitor the solutions adopted, on how the companies operate, ensuring
the smooth operation for the purposes of sound and prudent
management, intervening as many times as necessary. Specific rules
concerning governance of banks will be issued. It is necessary to complete
the reform of the governance of banks: the goal is to free all the
extraordinary potential, to ensure full representation of government
bodies, not overturn the mutual purpose.
Supervision in Europe
The concentration of banking systems, removal of barriers between
markets, the transnational nature of the major groups have given a
European dimension to supervision, and have prompted a rethinking of its
instruments. This staring some time ago, has already had important
consequences, but it is not over. The harmonization of the rules of
banking supervision is advanced. The basic choices are common;
cooperation between supervisors is widespread, first under the Committee
of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS). For transnational groups boards
of supervision exist, made up by the authorities of all countries where the
Group is present and coordinated by the responsible body.
TRANSPARENCY, FAIRNESS AND PROTECTION OF BANK CUSTOMERS
The indications of the Bank of Italy regarding compliance have been
approved, and soon will be made public; they dictate general principles,
recognizing the banks discretion in selecting more effective organization.
The bodies of the summit of the banks decide on the design of the
function, it looks over effective operations.
In all relationships with customers, transparent and correct information
increases public choice, promotes competition, prevents litigation. The
legislature, the authorities have become more aware about the need to
ensure the accuracy of reports, the same banks are rapidly acquiring the
knowledge that it is not just to defend and enhance the reputation of
industry, but also to have an important competitive tool.
The Directive on markets in financial instruments (MiFID) which comes
into force in November will affect the relationship between intermediaries
and customers. The most accurate description of the disclosure
requirements, differentiated according to the nature and service of the
client, will increase the transparency of the instruments offered,
customers will benefit from a broader set of information and make their
own choices with greater awareness. The obligation to ensure the best
execution, extended to factors other than price, will be assigned to
appropriate organizational solutions identified by the intermediary. The
Bank of Italy has undertaken, with other authorities, the definition of a
flexible regulatory structure in line with the requirements of the
containment of costs for intermediaries and with the objectives of
enhancing the financial sector of Italy.
The Bank of Italy is deeply involved in the prevention and fight against
money laundering. With the planned acquisition of the Italian Exchange
Office and the implementation of the new EU Directive conditions for
further progress will be created. The autonomy of the financial information
will be confirmed. Legislation will be made more effective, checks will be
increased, and new forms of intervention will be enabled.
The Bank and the citizens
It is fundamental principle that the central bank, which has been allocated
public interest, be answerable for its work concerning the criteria of
transparency required by law and taking care, in general, of the
dissemination of data and economic-financial news related to their
With the "The Bank and the Citizen" a space for communication is opened
that, by bringing together different branches of the site news of interest,
can make them more immediately accessible. It aims to highlight themes
and relevant issues and current in the economic and monetary field,
attracting the attention of citizens concerning the knowledge and the
correct interpretation of the problems that may occur and the effects that
Protection of savings
The functions that the law entrusts to the Bank of Italy regarding
Supervision of intermediaries and the banking system and financial aim to
pursue the protection of savings, interest-ranking constitutionally laid
down in Art. 47 first paragraph of the Constitution. This protection is
ensured through the exercise by the Bank of Italy, the powers attributed
to it by and designed to ensure sound and prudent management of the
supervised entities, transparency of contractual conditions applied by the
intermediaries, stability, efficiency and competitiveness of the financial
system as a whole.
Report on the national context
1. Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 23
2. General situation of the financial system in Portugal ......................................................... 23
3. Educational policy and financial literacy initiatives............................................................. 25
3.1. Educational policies .......................................................................................................... 25
3.1.1. European level ........................................................................................................... 25
3.1.2. National level ............................................................................................................. 25
3.2. Financial literacy initiatives .............................................................................................. 26
3.2.1. Initiatives from banks (financial agents) ................................................................... 26
3.2.2. Initiatives from other institutions ............................................................................. 29
3.2.3. European Projects ..................................................................................................... 32
3.2.4. Other initiatives ......................................................................................................... 33
2. Debt counseling organizations ............................................................................................ 35
3. Others .................................................................................................................................. 36
In this report we present the general situation of the financial system in Portugal. Educational policy and
financial literacy initiatives are also described. Among these we have the educational initiatives at the European
and national level. We also present the financial literacy initiatives from banks, from other kind of institutions,
some European projects and other initiatives. Finally, we present the debt counseling organizations in Portugal.
2. General situation of the financial system in Portugal
The Banco de Portugal was established by a royal charter of November 19th, 1846, to act as a commercial bank
and issuing bank. It came about as the result of a merger of the Banco de Lisboa and the Companhia de
Confiança Nacional, an investment company specialised in the financing of the public debt.
In January 1998, the Organic Law of the Banco de Portugal underwent further major changes, which envisaged
the reinforcement of its autonomy, in accordance with the requirements relating to the participation of Portugal
in Stage Three of EMU, and the preparation of its integration in the European System of Central Banks (ESCB)
from the January 1 1999 onwards.
The Banco de Portugal was approved by the Law nº 5/98, of 31st January with the changes introduced by the
Decrees-Law nº 118/2001, of 17th April, 50/2004, of 10th march and 39/2007, of 20th February. It regulates and
supervises the functioning of all financial institutions.
An important mission specifically assigned to the Bank is to "provide for the stability of the domestic financial
system, performing for the purpose the function of lender of last resort". This goal is achieved through
the supervision of credit institutions and financial companies.
The Bank "shall have the right to issue banknotes, which shall be legal tender and have discharging power" and
"shall put into circulation metal coins", although the ECB has "the exclusive right to authorize the issue of
banknotes". This function can be combined with another stipulating that "it shall be incumbent on the Bank to
regulate, oversee and promote the smooth operation of payment systems, namely within the scope of its
participation in the ESCB".
In addition to the functions mentioned above, it is also incumbent upon the Banco de Portugal "to manage the
foreign assets of the country" and "act as intermediary in the international monetary relations of the State", as
well as "to advise the Government in the economic and financial fields" and to "ensure the collection and
compilation of the monetary, financial, foreign exchange and balance of payments statistics, particularly, within
the scope of its co-operation with the European Central Bank".
The structure of the financial system in Portugal comprises 2 kinds of institutions:
a) Credit institutions – their activity consists of receiving from the public deposits or other funds that will
be invested, the allowance of credit and the emission of payment means as electronic money. In this
category of institutions we have banks, Savings banks, Central and mutual agricultural credit banks,
Credit financial institutions, Investment companies, Financial leasing companies, Factoring
companies, Credit purchase financing companies, Mutual guarantee companies, Branches of other
foreign credit institutions
b) Financial societies – companied that are not credit institutions. Eg. Dealers, Brokers, Foreign-exchange
or money-market mediating companies, Investment fund management companies, Credit card issuing
or management companies, Wealth management companies, Group purchase management companies,
Exchange offices, Credit securitisation fund management companies
The number of credit institutions and financial companies registered at Banco de Portugal decreased from 345 on
31 December 2006 to 336 on 31 December 2007, in line with the downward trend seen over the past few years.
The reduction in the number of registered credit institutions is explained by a decrease in the number of mutual
agricultural credit banks, financial leasing companies, factoring companies, credit purchase financing companies
and branches of other credit institutions having their head office abroad, partially offset by an increase in the
number of banks and credit financial institutions.
the 31st Dec 07
Banks, including 64 63
Branches of banks of other EU Member States 23 23
Branches of banks of non-EU countries 2 1
Savings banks 8 8
Central and mutual agricultural credit banks 107 111
Credit financial institutions 20 16
Investment companies 3 3
Financial leasing companies 3 4
Factoring companies 3 4
Credit purchase financing companies 0 1
Mutual guarantee companies 4 4
Branches of other foreign credit institutions 11 13
Dealers 4 4
Brokers 10 10
Foreign-exchange or money-market mediating companies 1 1
Investment fund management companies 49 48
Credit card issuing or management companies 1 1
Wealth management companies 15 16
Group purchase management companies 6 12
Exchange offices 21 20
Credit securitisation fund management companies 4 4
Other companies 2 2
Representative offices of credit institutions 29 30
and financial companies having their head office abroad
Holding companies 51 51
Total 416 426
Source: (Annual report 2007 – banco de Portugal, page 270)
We would like to point out that out of the 64 banks existing at the end of 2007, more than 1/3 were offices of
banks with headquarters in other EU countries. (Relatório anual 2007 – banco de Portugal)
3. Educational policy and financial literacy initiatives
3.1. Educational policies
3.1.1. European level
The European Parliament, taking into consideration the report of the committee on internal market and
consumer protection and the opinion of the committee on economic and monetary affairs (A6-0393/2008), the
fast evolving of financial markets, the level of financial literacy of consumers and the fact that financial
education programmes can contribute to raising financial literacy, encourages the European Commission to
present initiatives in the field of financial education of consumers. Among these initiatives we have:
The intention to publish an online database of financial education schemes and research in the EU
To improve consumer’s awareness of economic and financial realities with a view to understanding
economic commitments and avoiding unnecessary risk, excessive debt and financial exclusion
The recognition that empowered and educated consumers help to foster competition, quality and
innovation within the banking and financial services industries
The recognition of the importance of establishing the level of financial literacy in the Members States
and an understanding of the added value the EU can provide, as well as of defining educational needs
for specific target groups in society. These educational needs can be identified / defined by private
initiatives, the financial services industry and consumer organizations at both community and national
level. Financial education programmes are most effective if they are tailored to the needs of specific
target groups and personalized. Moreover, these programmes should contribute to the improvement of a
conscious and realistic handling of each individual’s financial possibilities
The recognition that financial education can complement but cannot be a substitute for coherent
consumer protection in financial services legislation and the regulation and strict supervision of
The recognition of the importance of the role of the private sector (financial institutions) in providing
consumers with information on financial services
The balance needed between providing consumers with the knowledge they need to make informed
financial decisions and overloading the consumer with information, favoring quality over quantity
The recommendation that financial education schemes should focus on life planning aspects such as
basic saving debt, insurance and pensions
The development and upgrade of the Dolceta online tool
To encourage Member States to include financial education in the primary and secondary school
To pay special attention to the educational needs of pensioners and persons at the end of their
professional career of may be at risk of financial exclusion and also to young people starting their
professional career who are faced with the challenge of determining how to make appropriate use of
3.1.2. National level
BF3FE302DB32/0/Rel_PNACE_2008.pdf PNACE PNR – Novo Ciclo 2008-2010
In this document the government reinforces its policies of public account sustainability (long term sustainability
of public finances and decrease of the deficit). The government recognizes the need of financial literacy of
the economic agents in order to fight the excess debt of families and companies. The government also ascribed
to the Bank of Portugal some competences related to the defense of the interests of clients regarding financial
products and services. Some initiatives took place: Portal of the Bank Client
(http://clientebancario.bportugal.pt/default.htm), Behavior Supervision Report of the Bank of Portugal and
several normative acts that regulate the offer of financial products and services through the reinforcement of the
information duties and the increase of financial literacy of families.
3.2. Financial literacy initiatives
3.2.1. Initiatives from banks (financial agents)
a) Banco de Portugal
Portal do cliente bancário - http://clientebancario.bportugal.pt/
This site presents several topics with relevant and Este sítio apresenta diversos assuntos com
useful information to the financial operation of the informação útil e relevante para as operações
client of a bank as well as legislation concerning financeiras de um cliente bancário, bem como
the offer of bank products and services, a glossary legislação sobre oferta de produtos e serviços
of financial terms and a set of answers to FAQ’s. bancários, um glossário de termos financeiros e
um conjunto de respostas a FAQ’s.
b) BES – Banco Espírito Santo
Who: Bes – Banco Espírito Santo Quem: Bes – Banco Espírito Santo
Country: Portugal País: Portugal
Under the scope of its policy of social
responsibility, creates a programme of financial
O Banco Espírito santo lançou um conjunto de
literacy named “Financial wisdom at the service of
iniciativas, designadas por “Da Matemática á
the sustainable development”.
Literacia Financeira” com o objectivo de
It is a set of initiatives created in order to stimulate estimular e desenvolver o gosto pela matemática,
and develop the willingness for math while de forma a contribuir para a formação de uma nova
contributing to the education of a new consumer geração de consumidores de serviços financeiros
generation of financial services, more informed crescentemente informada e com maior poder
and more empowered to make decisions. de análise e decisão.
This bank relates the low levels of financial
literacy with the low levels of math education and
so its programme was developed in order to help
youth to understand financial information and to
manage their own budget.
Acitivities of BES:
Com a criação deste jornal, o BES e o Jornal
Protocol with the
Público pretendem desenvolver um veículo
de comunicação entre a escola e a
comunidade, com o objectivo de promover o
gosto pela matemática de uma forma lúdica e ao
Creation of a math mesmo tempo, “formar” e informar os
journal – Kalkular Encarregados de Educação, para além de reforçar
(the aim was to os níveis de literacia financeira.
promote math while
Esta publicação está direccionada para público-
alvo dos 1º, 2º e 3º ciclos.
informing parents in
this area as well as
to reinforce the
levels of financial
journal is free and is distributed with the journal
“O Público”, an important daily journal in
No Banco da
Initiative towards students of 8 to 10 years old. It
consists of pedagogical sessions in the scope tod
É uma iniciativa do
financial activity. The objective is to educate
young consumers, explaining them some
fondamental concepts concerning their relationship
destinada a alunos
do 3º e 4º anos do
1º ciclo do
ensino básico, de âmbito nacional. Consiste
fundamentalmente em sessões pedagógicas no
âmbito da actividade financeira, a realizar em
alguns Balcões – Escola do BES (Balcões com
especial vocação e competência na área da
Esta acção tem como objectivo envolver o
BES junto das escolas contribuindo para a
formação de jovens consumidores informados,
explicando alguns conceitos fundamentais da
relação com o dinheiro.
Sponsorship to the Math Portuguese Olympics
SPM, são um
concurso de problemas de matemática, dirigido aos
estudantes dos 2º e 3º ciclos do ensino básico e
também aos que frequentam o ensino secundário.
Esta iniciativa envolve mais de 800 escolas e
This bank has launched the project “Contas à Este banco lançou o projecto “Contas à Vida”.
Vida” – this is a financial literacy project Este projecto visa a intervenção na comunidade
developed together with the “Programas para promover a inclusão financeira e social
de crianças e jovens provenientes de contextos
The target of this project is communities and sócio-económicos mais vulneráveis.
young people with problems. The aim is to help
them to deal with the daily financial challenges,
teaching them to find how to become financially
independent, entrepreneurs and create
d) Caixa Geral de Depósitos
The saving cycle. The objective is to make O Ciclo da Poupança tem como objectivo sensibilizar o
público infanto-juvenil para a necessidade de preservar o
people aware of the importance to Planeta, através da poupança de recursos naturais, ligando
preserve the Planet by saving the natural os conceitos de poupança de recursos e poupança
resources, connecting the concepts of
resource saving and financial saving
e) Citi Portugal – Citibank
The Citi Portugal, in partnership with the O Citi Portugal, em parceria com a Associação Aprender
association Learning to be an entrepreneur, has a Empreender, lançou pela primeira vez em Portugal o
launched, for the first time in Portugal, the support programa de apoio à literacia financeira Banks in
program to the financial literacy Banks in Action. Action.
Banks in Action is a computer-simulated programme, O objectivo? Transmitir princípios bancários a
sponsored by CITI Foundation that allows students to estudantes do 10° ano. No final os alunos têm, por um
assume the role of bankers and make banking decisions. dia, de criar e gerir bancos fictícios.
During the programme, students will complete such
tasks as attracting deposits and distributing loans, setting
interest rates, and making spending decisions on
marketing and R&D. The original programme has been
developed in English language.
3.2.2. Initiatives from other institutions
a) SEFIN – Associação Portuguesa dos Utilizadores e Consumidores de Serviços e Produtos
Financial Literacy Project
An important percentage of European citizens Uma percentagem importante dos cidadãos
might be financially excluded because they don’t europeus podem estar financeiramente excluídos
porque não têm acesso a serviços financeiros. A
have access to financial services. The lack of
falta de conhecimento financeiro faz com que os
financial knowledge prevents citizens of finding cidadãos não encontrem as soluções mais
the most adequate solutions for their problems. adequadas para os seus problemas. A educação
Financial education allows citizens to better financeira permite que os cidadãos compreendam
understand the products and the financial os produtos e os conceitos financeiros bem como
desenvolvam as competências necessárias para as
concepts and develop the necessary competences mudanças diárias.
to the daily challenges.
O SEFIN, juntamente com o Instituto de Estudos e
The SEFIN together with the Instituto de Estudos e Desenvolvimento, desenvolveu um projecto
Desenvolvimento, developed a strategic project in estratégico na área da literacia financeira. O
the area of financial literacy. The objective is to objectivo é fornecer aos jovens (10º a 12º anos)
th th conhecimento sobre o que são produtos financeiros
give young people (10 to 12 year) a better
de forma a que eles percebam as oportunidades e
knowledge about what financial products and os riscos financeiros bem como adquiram a
concepts are in order to understand the capacidade para tomarem decisões bem
opportunities and financial risks as well as the informadas. Este projecto pode ser estendido aos
capacity of taking well informed decisions. This alunos do ensino básico bem como os professores.
project can be extended to pupils of the basic A educação financeira é feita por diversos agentes
school as well as to teachers. (autoridades de supervisão financeira, sociedades
financeiras, serviços de aconselhamento em
This project has been conceived as a matéria de dividas, autoridades responsáveis pelo
complementar area in the school schedule. ensino, representantes dos consumidores, etc.).
Financial education is done by several agents in
The most common topic in the programmes of
financial education (in the EU) is the one that
deals with the Basic principles of Money
management, namely how to open and use a
bank account, budget management, credit and
deposits. Topics related with investments, savings,
retirement, insurance and risk management will
have more attention in the future.
This association intends to organize courses
adapted to the different contexts.
b) ASFAC – Associação de Instituições de Crédito Especializado
The ASFAC pretends to develop a relationship A ASFAC pretende desenvolver uma relação harmoniosa
between the credit institutions. In order to attain entre as instituições de crédito e os seus clientes. Para
this objective, the ASFAC tries to elucidate citizens tal a ASFAC tem vindo a trabalhar para o
esclarecimento dos portugueses e desenvolvimento das
by developing their competences related with
suas competências face ao dinheiro, através de uma
money through a strategy based on the financial
estratégia baseada na educação financeira. Pretendem
education. The association intends to increase the aumentar os níveis de literacia financeira dos
financial literacy level and help citizens to adopt portugueses e levar à adopção de comportamentos
more responsible behaviors. mais responsáveis.
c) Junior Achievement Portugal
It offers a range of programmes, based on the Desenvolver o espírito empreendedor nas novas gerações. Este
é o objectivo claro da Aprender a Empreender – uma
principle of Learning by Doing, which brings
associação, sem fins lucrativos, empenhada em levar às escolas,
volunteers from business into the classroom to programas que desenvolvem nas crianças e jovens o gosto pelo
work with teachers and students. Some of the empreendedorismo.
programmes enable students to work together to
Fundada em Setembro de 2005, a Associação Aprender a
run their own real company. Others use games,
Empreender é a congénere Portuguesa da Junior Achievement –
hands on activities and role play to develop skills a maior e mais antiga organização mundial educativa, sem fins
and capabilities for business and enterprise. lucrativos.
Através de programas apropriados para cada idade, o leque de
iniciativas da Junior Achievement começa a nível da escola do
1º ciclo, com diversas actividades de estímulo ao
desenvolvimento de uma cultura de responsabilidade
individual. Seguem-se outras iniciativas ao longo dos restantes
ciclos do ensino básico, secundário e universitário. A partir de
um conjunto de actividades dinâmicas desenvolvidas por um
voluntário representante do mundo do trabalho, os alunos
compreendem melhor a relação entre o que aprendem na escola
e a sua participação com sucesso na vida profissional.
Associated people / organizations of this initiative:
Vieira de Almeida & Associados
3.2.3. European Projects
This is a project of online consumer education (http://www.dolceta.eu/ e
Dolceta – Developing On-line Consumer Education Tools for Adults: www.doceta.eu. It is led by EUCEN (the
European Association for University Lifelong Learning) with EAEA (the European Associaton for Adult
Educaiton) and teams in all the countries of the European Union involving the consumer agencies, universities,
and adult education associations.
Dolceta aims to assist in raising the level of awareness and understanding of European consumer rights in the
Member States and in operational terms to develop interactive web-based tools for consumer education to be
used primarily by ‘multipliers’: teachers, trainers and adult educators in educational institutions, government
bodies with consumer responsibilities, consumer associations etc. However, the web-site is of course also
available to individual adult consumers directly as a source of information and self-directed learning.
In the first phase of the work (December 2003-June 2006) two modules were developed in, by and for the
(then) 25 Member States in their own language and adapted to their own culture and practice. The two
• Consumer rights, including the advantages of the internal market and redress possibilities
• Financial services.
Each has 3 levels: beginners, intermediate and specialized and adult direct users can enter either through a
keyword defining a particular consumer problem or through the level or through the home page and a specific
topic. The modules are designed to be interactive and lively with images, quizzes, exercises and games to
engage the user as well as text and sources of further information. However, we have aimed at simplicity and
have deliberately not used the latest and most sophisticated state of the art technology because we want to
maximize access and accessibility by individuals at home and by groups in adult education centres for example
where there are frequently no high speed broad band connections.
The modules have been created by experts in the consumer protection, law and regulation at European and
national level for each topic, in pedagogy and in on-line learning and have been tested with a mixed group of
around 10 learners in each Member State, drawn from the target groups relevant to the 3 levels of each
module. There is also an on-line users’ guide and brief teachers guide, web links, contacts and other sources of
further information A small team of international experts in consumer education and on-line learning have
reviewed the modules and acted as evaluators.
In an intermediate period (July 2006-June 2007) we have been ensuring routine maintenance of the site to
ensure that internal and external web links still work and still link to relevant material, and generally keeping
the site up to date.
The third phase of the work (December 2006-December 2008) is now well underway. This involves developing
the two existing modules – Consumer rights and Financial Services in the 2 new Member States – Romania and
Bulgaria; and developing two new modules in all 27 Member States. The two new modules are:
• Product Safety
• Support for primary and secondary school teachers and for educators of adult with literacy problems
All this work should be ready and accessible on line by early autumn 2008
This module aimed at teachers is rather different from the others. It is a response to a survey undertaken by
DGSANCO about consumer education in Europe which found that provision is extremely patchy. The main
problem was reported to be that teachers have difficulty in finding resources and materials and in getting
started with ideas of how to teach consumer issues. The module will therefore be full of concrete ideas and
examples with plenty of links to the resources on the rest of the Dolceta site but also to other resources, such
as the Consumer Diary and websites and material produced nationally. It will be designed so that teachers can
use the ideas as part of a consumer education programme but also as part of other subject areas in schools
such as economics, biology, languages and so on depending on the national curriculum arrangements.
3.2.4. Other initiatives
a) Talking financial literacy podcast
Resource for educators. Directed for those who are Este é um recurso para os educadores. Destina-se
looking for information, resources and knowledge a quem procura para obter informações, recursos e
on how to incorporate personal finances in conhecimentos sobre a incorporação de temas
education relacionados com finanças pessoais no ensino.
The emergence of simulations has taken the game industry by storm, but having fun while learning to be a CEO
and become adept at financial literacy?
This isn’t our traditional school days! Instead, media companies have developed accurate, compelling simulation
games which put learners(of all ages) into the director’s chair as they guide their company to success.
Will they make the right decisions?
OR will they be swayed by false information, incorrect projections or allegiances?
Kathy and Mark provide another riveting episode of Talking Financial Literacy in which they tour several of the
best online games related to financial literacy learning.
Listen in for abundant resources, perspectives on critical thinking and constructivism all to continue our quest for
developing better understanding and practice in personal finance. You will discover
• Several free online video games which teach entrepreneurship through virtual reality simulations
• Educators’ inside looks at ease of setup, use, application and benefits of these programs.
financial literacy – this site provides resources for Sítio fornece recursos sobre literacia financeira
education regarding financial literacy para usar na educação / formação
b) Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Personal Financial Literacy
In the US some states have already had the initiative of developing standards for personal financial literacy. The
link below presents one of these initiatives – the one from Wisconsin
c) Portuguese Government
d) Polytechnic School at Viseu
Vídeo concerning Financial Rogério Matias fala sobre a (i)literacia financeira dos portugueses
literacy (PT) VIDEO
“Clareza no Pensamento” is an initiative of lecturers from a
Politechnic Institute (Viseu) to attain the following objectives –
understand financial issues, promote and develop solidarity action
at school and to collaborate with other agents to develop the region
e) Blog Barbara Barroso
this is a blog concerning, among other themes, the Blog sobre a literacia financeira dos portugueses
portuguese financial literacy
f) Blog de Cláudia Lopes
Blog where the author discusses, among other Blog onde a autora discute o problema da literacia
things, the problem of financial literacy and points financeira e apresenta formas já em uso de
out some ways already in use on how to overcome ultrapassar este problema
4. Debt counseling organizations
a) Observatório do endividamento dos consumidores
The Observatory of Consumers' Indebtedness (OEC) was created on 19th July 2001 through a protocol established between the
Consumer's Institute and the Centro de Estudos Sociais, a research center of the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra.
The Observatory's main objective is to carry out research on the problematic of consumers' indebtedness and over indebtedness.
It is the OEC's specific mission to perform the following tasks: collect and analyze economic and socio-legal information pertaining
to consumers' credit; design methodologies for assessing over indebtedness; carry out technical studies aimed at characterizing and
getting a better knowledge of the main tendencies of consumer indebtedness and over indebtedness; attend workshops and other
meetings in order to discuss and devise appropriate measures in the areas of consumer credit, indebtedness and over indebtedness.
As part of its ongoing activities, the OEC is also committed to periodically disseminate the processed data and the results of its
research; to organize thematic seminars and annual meetings with national and foreign experts in order to contribute to diagnoses as
well as forecasts of consumers' indebtedness and over indebtedness; to establish links with similar institutions from other countries
on a regular basis, with the aim of exchanging information and promoting joint activities.
While focusing primarily on the Portuguese case, the OEC will also be engaged in monitoring the situation in other countries and
will join any relevant activities or events launched within the context of the European Union.
b) DECO – Defesa do consumidor
Junta de Freguesia de Matosinhos has made available a space to built an Office for DECO, as
the result of a protocol signed by the 2 entities.
Câmara Municipal de Elvas has done the same.
c) Portal do consumidor
d) Gabinete de Orientação ao Endividamento dos Consumidores (GOEC)
Gabinete de Orientação ao Endividamento dos Consumidores (GOEC) aims to prevent the
over indebtedness situations by counseling and accompanying citizens. The GOEC is the
result of a partnership between the government, through the Instituto do Consumidor, and the
Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão (ISEG).
e) UATE – Aconselhamento Técnico a Cidadãos em Situação de Endividamento
The Aconselhamento Técnico a Cidadãos em Situação de Endividamento (UATE) is a
measure created by the Government of Azores and operationalized by the Instituto de Acção
Social, to citizens and families in situation of over indebtedness and high risk of social and
economic problems. This measure intends to prevent this kind of situations and offer technical
counseling to families needing to restructure their credit plans processes.
Não têm sido apenas as instituições financeiras a ter preocupações neste domínio. Um grupo
de professores está a desenvolver um projecto contra a iliteracia e a exclusão financeira dos
alunos e suas famílias [http://projectolife.blogspot.com/]. Este projecto « life » propõe-se
prestar apoio aos professores dos ensinos básico e secundário, interessados na programação e
dinamização de actividades de educação financeira, dirigidas aos alunos, normalmente
excluídos de oportunidades de aprendizagem num domínio de incontornável relevância para a
sua formação integral e a sua integração social.
O modelo de conceitos de literacia financeira assenta em três vertentes:
- Compreensão e conhecimentos financeiros – trata-se de ajudar os alunos a compreender
os conceitos de dinheiro e riqueza; como se cria e como circula para fazer funcionar a
- Competência financeira – trata-se de desenvolver o saber-fazer necessário a uma gestão
eficiente do dinheiro, à identificação dos problemas conexos e à tomada de decisões
competentes. A educação financeira é também um elemento essencial do empreendedorismo.
- Responsabilidade financeira – trata-se de avaliar e ponderar o impacto que o dinheiro e as
decisões financeiras têm sobre os outros.
b) Europe Central Bank
Alargando um pouco mais o nosso âmbito de pesquisa, encontramos uma iniciativa do Banco
Central Europeu. Num menu relacionado com educação, o BCE disponibiliza uma brochura
sobre a estabilidade dos preços (Price stability: why is it important for you?) com versão
destinada a estudantes e professores, bem como alguns vídeos sobre esta temática
Como todas as iniciativas são importantes, esta também é de louvar. No entanto saliente-se o
facto da preocupação do BCE se restringir apenas à estabilidade dos preços.
c) Initiatives in the USA
Existem, depois iniciativas levadas a cabo pelos EUA, algumas relacionadas apenas com a
preocupação do sobre endividamento, crédito, onde se providencia informação e outras
mesmo com cursos / acções de formação, com módulos e conteúdos disponíveis
Transcreve-se, abaixo, o conteúdo de um desses cursos.
General Financial Literacy
Bank Comparison Activity
Budget: Don't Go Broke (NEFE)
Budgeting & Checking Activity
Budgeting Your Financial Resources (The Mint)
Career Unit (NEFE)
Credit: Buy Now, Pay Later (NEFE)
Finan Lit.- Econ. Factors, Decision Making, Advertising
Financial Literacy - Careers and Income
Financial Literacy - Consumer Credit
Financial Literacy - Consumer Privacy
Financial Literacy - Consumer Rights & Responsibilities
Financial Literacy - Credit Cards
Financial Literacy - Debt and Poor Money Management
Financial Literacy - Financial Institutions
Financial Literacy - Financial Planning and Budgeting
Financial Literacy - Income and Deductions
Financial Literacy - Insurance and Risk Management
Financial Literacy - Saving and Investing
Financial Planning: Your Road Map Unit (NEFE)
How Credit Works
Insurance: Your Protection (NEFE)
Money Management Intelligence
Online Financial Literacy Final
Saving & Investing Unit (NEFE)
The Influence of Advertising