Webster Bank Explores Current State of Financial Inclusion with its Inaugural Financial Empowerment Study
Fewer than 4 in 10 U.S. consumers feels strongly they have the knowledge to make “smart financial decisions”
Financial challenges and worries are even more common among younger generations
(STAMFORD, CT) October 16, 2023 – Webster Bank today announced the findings from its inaugural Financial Empowerment Study, an in-depth, independent report that examines financial challenges and literacy of consumers.
“Our survey found that over half of Americans are concerned about their financial situation and they don’t feel confident in their knowledge to address it,” said Marissa Weidner, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer at Webster Bank. “The study shows the importance of finance curriculum in schools in preparing consumers to confidently and successfully manage their financial future.”
Today, 23 states mandate the completion of personal finance curriculum to graduate from high school. Of these states, six introduced these requirements in 2023.
The Study found that just 27% of U.S. consumers report receiving any type of financial education in middle or high school. The impact of these courses is clear. Those who received financial education in middle and high school years are more likely to feel fully in control of their finances (49%) compared to those who did not receive any financial literacy courses (25%).
Other key findings from the Study include:
• Americans are unsure how to save for the future: Nearly two in three (65%) feel they are “not saving enough for retirement” and cannot save “like they should” (65%). More than one-third of Americans (36%) reported that when it comes to saving and investing, they “just don’t know where to start”.
• Majority of consumers worry about their finances: More than half (55%) say they worry a lot about their financial situation compared to just 32% who say they feel fully in control of their financial future.
• Most are seeking additional help to understand their finances: Two-thirds of survey respondents (67%) are interested in tools and resources to help build their financial knowledge and/or more effectively manage their personal finances.
The Study also revealed that consumers need additional support to prepare for emergencies.
Although a majority of Americans (57%) say saving for emergencies is a top financial priority, nearly one-third (31%) do not have an emergency fund and only 23% have a rainy-day fund that could cover more than six months of expenses.
“It’s clear that there is interest in improving financial knowledge, however, there is a need for communities to do more to build and promote these important resources,” Weidner said. “These findings reinforce Webster’s commitment to making financial knowledge and tools accessible to all and ensure our communities are aware of the opportunities available to remain in control of their finances.”
Webster is committed to investing in programs that foster youth leadership and help build our future workforce. To date, Webster has launched six Finance Labs with nonprofit partners to help low- and moderate-income communities create opportunities for youth to gain skills needed for economic empowerment and financial success. The initiative launched in June 2022, and has committed $600,000 to date, with partnerships extended to six nonprofit organizations.
Learn more about Webster Bank’s Office of Corporate Responsibility.
About the Financial Empowerment Study:
An online survey among a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults aged 21-79 was conducted in September 2023 to gauge awareness of financial tools and resources available in their communities and inform the level of financial education received, as well as assess financial health and future needs. The survey was commissioned by the Office of Corporate Responsibility at Webster Bank and executed by 8 Acre Perspective, an independent market research firm. Statistical testing was done at the 90% confidence level.
Webster Bank (“Webster”) is a leading commercial bank in the Northeast that provides a wide range of digital and traditional financial solutions across three differentiated lines of business: Commercial Banking, Consumer Banking and its HSA Bank division, one of the country’s largest providers of employee benefits solutions. Headquartered in Stamford, CT, Webster is a values-driven organization with more than $70 billion in assets. Its core footprint spans the northeastern U.S. from New York to Massachusetts, with certain businesses operating in extended geographies. Webster Bank is a member of the FDIC and an equal housing lender. For more information about Webster, including past press releases and the latest annual report, visit the Webster website at www.websterbank.com.
Elaine K. Ficarra, 203-913-2716
Emlen Harmon, 212-309-7646