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ANZ & BSL develop Aust`s 1st matched savings program

Document date:  Fri 18 Oct 2002
Published:  Fri 18 Oct 2002 10:39:06
Document No:  196409
Document part:  A
Market Flag:  N
Classification:  Other

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP       2002-10-18  ASX-SIGNAL-G

HOMEX - Melbourne                                                     

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ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence today announced a partnership
to introduce an innovative matched savings program to help low-income
families break out of the poverty cycle.

The ANZ Community Partnership Accounts Program, the first of its kind
in Australia, aims to help low-income families build savings for
educational purposes through a matched savings scheme in which ANZ
will match every dollar saved by individuals or families with two
additional dollars. Savings account holders will also be provided
with financial education classes.

The program is designed to assist people on low incomes by:

* improving their ability to save for a specific education-related
goal

* assisting longer-term self-sufficiency through improved access to
education.

The development of the Community Partnership Accounts Program follows
a review of experience in the United States and Canada where matched
savings schemes are being developed as a new response to assisting
people on low incomes build assets and escape poverty.

ANZ Chief Executive Officer John McFarlane said the Community
Partnership Accounts program provided a practical way for ANZ to
assist low-income earners to build a better future.

"This is a highly relevant program for ANZ to help develop. Our
partnership with the Brotherhood of St Laurence allows us to play a
direct role in encouraging saving, creating a better future for
people in need through education and improving financial literacy,"
Mr McFarlane said.

"We are very pleased to have the Brotherhood of St Laurence as a
partner. We know that if this program is going to be successful,
having a community partner who is known and trusted at the local
level is essential," he said.

Brotherhood of St Laurence Executive Director Nic Frances said:
"International experience has shown that with the right support and
incentives, low-income families could achieve savings goals and break
the poverty cycle.

"Education has been shown to have a major impact in addressing
poverty. For children born in disadvantaged circumstances, it can be
a real opportunity to develop their full potential and achieve their
goals.

"However, our research shows that many low-income families really
struggle to meet the costs of education, even if their children are
at public schools and receiving government assistance.

"This can lead to students being excluded from activities such as
school camps, excursions, additional tutoring if they need it, or
access to a computer. Older students may find they can't take
particular courses because the fees covering the resources needed are
beyond their family's ability to pay. The effects of this can be
quite devastating," he said.

ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence will form a project team using
the skills of both organisations to develop the Community Partnership
Accounts program, which will be piloted among low-income families in
Melbourne and Sydney early in 2003. The pilot is expected to run for
18 months and is designed to produce learnings to enable the
development of a national program in 2004.

ANZ will fund all costs associated with the development of the pilot
and matching of funds.


For media enquiries, contact:

Paul Edwards
Head of Group Media Relations, ANZ
Tel: 03-9273 6955 or 0409-655 550
Email: edwardp12@anz.com

Helen Westerman
Brotherhood of St Laurence
Tel: 03-9483 1317 or 0413-948 535
Email: hwesterman@bsl.org.au


NOTES FOR EDITORS


BACKGROUND TO COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

* The Community Partnership Savings Accounts program is based on an
American model of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) developed by
Dr Michael Sherraden, Professor of Social Development and Director of
the Centre for Social Development at Washington University in St
Louis. Dr Sherraden's research shows that by helping low-income
earners build assets, the effect on their lives and the lives of
their community is positive - in both financial and emotional terms.

* Savings account holders take money management and financial
education classes while saving for a specific goal. Participants'
savings are matched at an agreed and preset rate and the combined
total is then used for 'investment' into purchasing or making a
deposit on an 'asset' such as education or a home.


INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE

* There are more than 250 examples of matched savings programs or
IDAs, running in the USA. These programs receive funding from the
Federal Government, local authorities, community organisations,
private philanthropic foundations such as the Ford Foundation and
corporations.

* In the USA, the average matching rate is 2:1 (two dollars matched
for every dollar saved). To date, IDAs have had a 67 per cent success
rate, raising average net deposits of $US300 per annum ($US900 when
matched).

* In Canada, the world's largest demonstration of matched savings is
currently underway. The program, known as Learn$ave, is supported by
the Canadian Government and is designed to help low income Canadians
build their personal savings and invest in learning, as a means for
building wealth.

* Further information on programs in the USA and Canada is available
from the Centre for Enterprise Development based in Washington DC
(www.cfed.org); and Social and Enterprise Development Innovations in
Ontario, Canada (www.sedi.org).


ANZ COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP SAVINGS ACCOUNTS PILOT

* ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence will run an 18-month pilot
that will enable participants to save for education-related expenses.

* In determining eligibility criteria, ANZ and the Brotherhood of St
Laurence will take into account the poverty line, the cost of living
and other economic indicators, including employment conditions.

* ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence will set a maximum household
cap to be reviewed on a regular basis. Eligibility criteria will
allow for some flexibility to enable the Brotherhood of St Laurence
to make exceptions in special cases.