Can Innovation Help the Poor Escape from Payday Lenders? Ford Thinks So

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Ford Foundation has been working to close the racial wealth gap for over two decades, a gap much in the news these days, and one part of that effort has been to help “unbanked” low-income people escape from the shady world of payday lending and worse, and access the financial services that middle-class people take for granted. To that end, Ford recently gave $1 million dollars to the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) to continue its work on building financial tools for the underserved.

Ford is making the two-year grant through its Economic Opportunities and Assets program, and the money is for an “exploratory program” with the goal of “promoting a financial marketplace that provides high quality products and services that improve the financial health of low-income households.”

You can see the other nonprofits funded by Ford in the assets grant-making basket here.

The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) describes itself as the “nation’s authority on consumer financial health.” CFSI leads a network of “financial services innovators” committed to building financial products for the underserved, and includes a long list of banks, credit unions, and credit card companies. CFSI sees itself as “seeding the innovation that will transform the financial services landscape.”

Source: Inside Philanthropy (link opens in a new window)

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financial inclusion, financial innovation, philanthropy