This paper, co-sponsored by the Brookings Institution and the Financial Services Roundtable, led to the business planning and creation of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI). Originally housed at Shorebank, CFSI is the authority on consumer financial health, leading a network of committed financial services innovators to build better consumer products and practices.
The attached paper examines recent technological advancements and other profound changes in the financial services industry and identifies how these changes create a prime opportunity for the industry to profitably reach out to lower-income consumers. A range of information, access, policy, and other issues can be addressed to improve market functioning, and help bring lower-income consumers into the economic mainstream. Financial services providers are recognizing the benefits and viability of reaching out to lower-income consumers and are creating new partnerships and new products to respond to their needs. The paper closes with recommendations on how best to address the barriers, accelerate the emerging market response and bring it to scale.