What is a FIAP? What is FInancial Inclusion? Use this page to find out some of the most common questions about FIAP, or else CONTACT US with your query.

Frequently asked questions

What is a FIAP? What is FInancial Inclusion? Use this page to find out some of the most common questions about FIAP, or else CONTACT US with your query.

A Financial Inclusion Action Plan. Organisations with FIAPs make public commitments to work on actions that will increase financial inclusion and financial wellbeing within their own sphere of influence. These can either be plans for one organisation, or part of a place-based action plan bringing tother multiple organisations. The plans are developed as part of a framework co-ordinated by Good Shepherd.

Financial inclusion exists where individuals have access to appropriate and affordable financial services and products – the key services and products are a transaction account, general insurance and a moderate amount of credit. CSI UNSW 2011  Being financially included is a first step towards financial wellbeing. Financial inclusion efforts have typically been focused on delivering products and services that are appropriate and affordable.  Globally, this is a significant challenge as 24% of the population has no access to formal financial services. World Bank Global Findex

There are several definitions of financial wellbeing, but all have similar elements. All are based on extensive research, and have supporting tools available that can help individuals measure their own financial wellbeing, as well as help organisations measure the impact of their financial wellbeing initiatives.

Financial wellbeing is the extent to which someone is able to meet all their current commitments and needs comfortably, and has the financial resilience to maintain this in the future. (ANZ 2021)

For more detail on measuring financial wellbeing, and how FIAP addresses systemic issues of financial wellbeing, refer to the Power to Persuade blog. 

Financial Inclusion Action Plans are not social programs aimed at providing direct support to people in need; instead, they represent a range of actions aimed at delivering systemic improvements to the financial wellbeing of many people across a range of sectors.  These commitments will, however, often include actions that directly impact people experiencing financial hardship or vulnerability, by improving the ways that an organisation can identify and respond to people in need. 

At Good Shepherd, we aspire for all women, girls and families to be safe, strong and connected. We are committed to tackling the issues of our time which adversely affect them.  We are Australia’s oldest charity working to support women and girls experiencing abuse and disadvantage. We recognise that financial exclusion affects women disproportionally to men, and women experience lower financial wellbeing than men.  As such, FIAPs include commitments specifically designed to address barriers that women face, and encourage increased economic security and financial wellbeing. 

FIAP members come from multiple sectors across Australia, including banking and finance, insurance, education, energy, not-for-profit, government, manufacturing and more. You can see a list of members on Our Members page.

FIAP is run by a dedicated team at Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand. The program was established by a partnership group consisting of Good Shepherd Microfinance, the Department of Human Services, the Centre for Social Impact at UNSW, and EY. CSI and EY continue to provide program support for evaluation and progress verification.

FIAP is supported by membership fees, in addition to operational funding and support from Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand. The national program has previously received funding support from the Government of Australia – Department of Human Services, and the Ecstra Foundation. Place-Based programs have benefited from support from the Helen MacPherson Smith Trust, the Building Better Regions Fund, and SA Government DHS.

  • National members pay an annual membership fee, which supports the program and includes support from Good Shepherd and EY to develop, launch, implement, and verify the FIAP. Membership fees vary according to the size of the organisation, with special rates for not-for-profits. Please contact us to find out more.
  • Place-based members do not pay a fee, as these programs are supported by grants.

FIAP members get access to dedicated Community of Practice events and a knowledge portal to help learn about financial inclusion and wellbeing, and connect to other members.  Membership also includes support from Good Shepherd to develop, launch, implement, and report on progress for an Action Plan. This support will typically include several facilitated workshops and consulting support. 

A FIAP is a demonstration that an organisation is making commitments to improve the way they work towards greater financial inclusion and wellbeing.  We work with EY to track progress against these commitments, but this does not represent an audit or an endorsement of the organisation as a whole.

The FIAP program operates nationally across Australia, with place-based FIAPs in Geelong, Victoria, and Northern Adelaide, South Australia.  Some FIAP organisations refer to actions of subsidiaries and related entities in other countries, as a sub-set of their Australian action plans. 

A Foundation FIAP is the first FIAP an organisation undertakes. It will typically be a twelve-month commitment, and will contain actions that are often of an exploratory or planning nature.  After the completion of a Foundation FIAP, some organisations will choose to move to a Build FIAP, which constitutes deeper, longer-term commitments to act. Build FIAPs will also include “Leadership Actions”, designed to take a strong position as an example to other organisations. 

Creating a FIAP is a deliberate exercise that initially focuses on a ‘self assessment’ of the actions an organisation already undertakes in the space of financial wellbeing. It then moves toward possible future actions to further support the financial wellbeing of its customers, employees, contractors or suppliers, or the broader community.  To ensure a commitment from leadership, and a whole of organisation approach to developing a FIAP, it can take time to coordinate the right people in the right roles to be involved.  Given this, FIAP development can take 4-12 months.  For organisations committing to a place-based FIAP, the timeframe is approximately 4-7 months. 

Most Foundation Action Plans have a 12-month duration. Build FIAPs have 2-3 year durations.  For Foundation FIAPs, progress verification occurs at the end of the plan. Members self-assess the completion status of their actions, and collate evidence to show that outputs specified in their plan are now in place. EY will seek samples of evidence, and interview staff from the FIAP member organisation, to assess whether the self-assessment was fair and reasonable. This does not constitute an audit but does provide a level of assurance that the actions have been completed.  For Build FIAPs, which have 2-3 year plans, EY will provide progress verifications during the term of the plan, and upon completion. Publication of mid-term verifications is at member discretion.

Yes, the FIAP program occasionally runs events designed to connect a broad range of community organisations interested in financial inclusion and wellbeing.  See our Events page for more information.  We also run quarterly events for our members, with the aim of supporting them to implement their action plans and connect to other FIAP champions and organisations. 

FIAP members make public commitments to improve financial wellbeing in their sphere of influence. Before inviting an organisation to join the FIAP, Good Shepherd and the FIAP Advisory Group conduct due diligence to ensure the organisation’s purpose, operations, and impact, align with its program goals. Any organisation with an exploitative core business model is excludedFor example, companies offering high-cost credit targeting people experiencing financial exclusion (payday loans) would be excluded from joining the program. 

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