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MetLife Foundation is pleased to sponsor Next Billion Financial Health. When MetLife Foundation launched our financial inclusion strategy in 2013, the financial inclusion industry was beginning to show that a well-coordinated global effort could produce impressive results. We saw that more than 2 billion people lacked access to formal financial services. But we also saw how steadily that gap was being closed. Financial services providers, investors, donors, regulators, and many other parties were collaborating to bring more and better financial services to massive numbers of unserved or underserved people. Today, the Foundation is working globally with talented organizations to test innovative, technology-enabled solutions that can drive down costs, improve quality, and support people as they move towards greater stability on the path to long-term financial health.
Financial Inclusion: 2013-2016
Total Financial Inclusion Commitments* – $123,142,700
Financial Inclusion Grantee Partners – 170
Countries With Financial Inclusion Projects – 39
Individuals Reached Through Financial Inclusion Projects – Nearly 3.5 million
*Figures shown reflect totals since MetLife Foundation adopted its financial inclusion focus in 2013 through December 31, 2016
MetLife Foundation designed its financial inclusion strategy to ensure that our work built on, rather than duplicated, efforts already underway. And we wanted to take full advantage of our strengths: the Foundation’s global reach, MetLife’s years of expertise and stability as one of the largest insurance companies in the world, and the support of thousands of MetLife associates eager to volunteer with the Foundation. Our financial inclusion work rests on three strategic areas of focus – Knowledge, Services and Insights.
KNOWLEDGE: Increasing an individual’s capability to make sound financial decisions. Our approach targets both youth and adults and emphasizes “edu-action”— the chance not just to learn about financial matters but to put the concepts into practical action through access to accounts and products. We are proud to have helped our partners build the financial capability of their clients enabling them to manage their finances and have all the right tools to do so. Our partners include global organizations like BFA, who are working with us in Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia and Mexico and using data-driven insights to enable local institutions to better understand their customers’ financial needs. We’re also working with national networks in the U.S. like the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions who collectively serve 6 million predominantly low-income Americans.
SERVICES: Ensuring clients are served by strong institutions that meet their needs. That is why we are focusing our grants on supporting digital innovations and targeting the growth and sustainability of institutions serving low-income customers through better products and operational efficiencies. We believe that to deliver financial services at scale, the financial inclusion community must take full advantage of new technologies. We have partnered with a diverse group of organizations such as Verb, an organization that specializes in social innovation, to develop a global competition to fund social enterprises working to advance access to financial services for the underserved. The competition which launched in Ireland, China and India, brought together more than 250 social ventures and 240 MetLife employees volunteering nearly 1,000 collective hours as judges and mentors. In Asia, we’re partnering with MicroSave, a world leader in digital financial services, to support the digital transformation of two leading financial institutions – IDF (Bangladesh) and Co-op Bank (Vietnam). Over the two-year course of the project, more than 140,000 customers will begin transacting digitally, and at scale, the institution will be able to serve 2 million customers.
We have also focused on leveraging behavioral economics to drive action. Only by understanding why clients make the decisions they do can the financial inclusion community encourage healthier financial behaviors and design products and services that support healthier choices. We have launched a three-year initiative with Common Cents Lab at Duke University in the U.S. to test innovations based on behavioral economic insights that can help low-income Americans make better financial decisions. We are working with ideas42 in Mexico and Chile to analyze the behavioral factors that might increase uptake of a broad range of products and services intended to improve financial health generally, including retirement planning, across the region.
INSIGHTS: Building knowledge in the financial inclusion field. MetLife Foundation supports high-quality research and events that bring together grantees, business leaders and MetLife employees. We also sponsor workshops and conferences that focus on the work of Foundation grantees and highlight innovative solutions. Our partnership with the Wall Street Journal and WSJ. Custom Studios has led to the design and development of Multipliers of Prosperity, an award-winning thought leadership platform that features stories from our grantees. We share best practices, insights and information about financial inclusion issues working towards a more equitable world. In the U.S., we support Aspen Institute’s financial security work with EPIC, an effort to examine economic forces that significantly impact the financial security of millions of Americans. Each year, EPIC targets one important consumer finance issue and then convenes academics, policy makers and practitioners in a cross-sector effort to find solutions.
To learn more visit www.metlife.org.