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What can banks do to promote youth integration?

Operating in every corner of the country, banking groups work closely with local populations. This gives them a unique position to observe the barriers to integration facing young people, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods in cities and rural areas. For the French Banking Federation (FBF), the banking sector has a critical role to play in promoting integration. BNP Paribas shares this vision and takes action through several initiatives. Find out more below.

The bank’s tools for promoting youth integration

Among the more than 500,000 young people in France with no job or prospects, 50% come from working-class neighborhoods. To promote their integration, banks utilize several different tools:

  • They can work side by side, through partnerships, with local associations dedicated to these issues, notably to provide academic support to schoolchildren and students in high school and college.
  • They can develop student loans with low interest rates through partnerships with higher-learning institutions.
  • They can help students gain professional experience through a wide range of work-study contracts (in 2017, banks in France signed 6,500 new contracts), or by leveraging their professional networks to guide young people and help them get their foot in the door.
  • They can encourage entrepreneurship among young people through special financing and initiatives, such as microloans, skills sponsorship or social entrepreneurship.

©Syda Productions.

BNP Paribas initiatives that promote academic success and access to employment

BNP Paribas has chosen youth integration as one of the priorities of its Company Engagement Department, created in September 2017, and of the BNP Paribas Foundation. Its integration support includes assistance at every step in the academic and professional lives of young people, including academic support and guidance, preparation for the job market and help with starting a business. 

Since 2006, the bank has aided 400 local associations and supported more than 1,000 projects serving 200,000 beneficiaries. For example, working with the Pacte 21 program, BNP Paribas has committed to offering more than 1,500 internships a year to high school students from priority neighborhoods. The Projet Banlieues program supports local associations working in poor neighborhoods in France (Institut Télémaque, Article 1, Proxité), which provide assistance for young people from disadvantaged areas who show potential. The Group has also partnered with the association Nos Quartiers ont des Talents, which provides individual support to young graduates coming from priority neighborhoods or disadvantaged social backgrounds and seeking their first job.  

Finally, because field trips provide a great way to expand on school curricula, the Odyssée Jeunes program—created through a partnership between the Seine-Saint-Denis General Council, the French Ministry of Education’s Departmental Services and the BNP Paribas Foundation—contributes financing educational field trips for schoolchildren in Seine-Saint-Denis. In eight years, Odyssée Jeunes organized 1,100 educational field trips in France and abroad, enabling 42,000 children to get a new perspective on topics discussed in class. 

BNP Paribas Personal Finance—focus on work-study and financial education

The Group’s subsidiary specialized in personal financing, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, is a signatory of the “Businesses & Neighborhoods” national charter and a partner of the Mozaïk RH foundation, a human resources consulting and recruiting firm specialized in promoting diversity. BNP Paribas Personal Finance has made diversity a central focus of its new recruiting processes. Iit has 270 work-study employees at its headquarters and operations sites, including 130 annual recruits of young people from poor neighborhoods. It notably employs original recruiting processes like the escape game.  

As a partner of local initiatives and second chance schools, BNP Paribas Personal Finance reaches 1,000 young people a year with its financial education program. For the start of the 2018-2019 school year, the entity launched a white-label digital platform aiming to train 12,000 young people.

Support for entrepreneurship

According to a 2017 OpinionWay survey, 60% of young people want to start their own businesses. This includes more than 40% of young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods, and BNP Paribas intends to support their ambition. The bank aids the association Entreprendre pour Apprendre, which works to inspire a taste for entrepreneurship among young people

It has also formed a partnership with the foundation La France S’engage, which identifies, awards and supports the most promising startups and non-profit projects in the area of integration and inclusion. 

The Group also invested in Impact Partenaires, the first fund dedicated to entrepreneurs from disadvantaged peripheral neighborhoods. Finally, to meet the specific needs of social entrepreneurs, BNP Paribas has recruited experts and implemented a financing policy. This includes the launch of Act for Impact, a certification label and comprehensive line of banking services dedicated to social entrepreneurs.

Entreprendre pour Apprendre - Odyssée Jeunes - Projet Banlieues ©Sophie Loubaton-Capa Pictures for the BNP Paribas Foundation.

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