Financial Opportunity

Expanding Financial Capabilities and Wellness

Financial insecurity remains a persistent challenge for middle- and low-income families who have been destabilized by stagnant wages, face obstacles to homeownership, and have high amounts of consumer and student loan debt. In 2016, the Financial Opportunity Working Group will work to leverage, expand, and shape financial and technology tools that enable families to build wealth and move toward long-term financial wellness in key areas such as homeownership, youth savings, and retirement.

2016 Subtopics

Scaling Youth Savings Strategies

A child with a savings account is three times more likely to go to college, even if that savings account has less than $500. Attendees will discuss how to expand child savings accounts and encourage young people to save for the future.

Harnessing Financial Technology

Financial technology has the potential to radically expand financial opportunity for the ‘unbanked’ of America. Attendees will explore how financial technology can be leveraged to grow household wealth, increase access to information, and bridge liquidity gaps.

Expanding Homeownership Opportunities

For many Americans, homeownership is an avenue to long-term financial security. Attendees will discuss how to revitalize particularly distressed housing markets through the creation of new mortgage products, borrower education, and credit rehabilitation programs.

Adapting to the Shifting Retirement Landscape

Nearly 45 percent of households have no retirement savings. Attendees will examine how both large and small employers can leverage behavioral economic strategies to increase employee participation and contributions to retirement funds.

Coping with Financial Emergencies

63% of Americans do not have the savings to pay for an unplanned expense of just $500. Attendees will explore viable alternatives to expensive small dollar loans, such as lending circles and borrow and save programs.

Innovative Commitments

Campaign for Every Kid’s Future

Commitment by: Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED)
Commitment Partners: City And County Of San Francisco; ‘I Have A Dream’ Foundation; Utah Educational Saving Plans; State of Delaware; National League of Cities; City of St. Louis; The State of Colorado; State of Rhode Island; The Harold Alfond Scholarship Fund; Washington University in St. Louis; University of Kansas
In 2015, CFED and its partners committed to launch a Campaign for Every Kid’s Future that will help 1.4 million children receive a child savings account (CSA) by 2020. CFED will provide technical assistance to local and state agencies in designing and supporting programs, develop case-making materials for local policymakers, support local advocacy efforts to expand and deepen the impact of asset-based strategies, and guide programs in raising matching dollars through the 1:1 Fund online platform.

Empowering St. Louis Through Financial Literacy

Commitment by: Treasurer, City of St. Louis
Commitment Partners: Operation HOPE; St. Louis Regional Unbanked Task Force
In 2014, the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office, with its partners and various local community banks, committed to build and staff a Financial Empowerment Center at St. Louis City Hall. The Center will provide comprehensive financial education and direct counseling around credit building and money management. The Financial Empowerment Center—called HOPE Inside—opened in June of 2015.

Using the Safety Net as a Springboard to College

Commitment by: Single Stop USA
Commitment Partners: The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc.; The Baton Rouge Area Foundation; Ford Foundation; The Kresge Foundation; The Robin Hood Foundation; Association of Community College Trustees
In 2014, Single Stop USA committed to assist low-income college students to better connect to resources and achieve their educational goals. Single Stop will create an easy-to-use technology platform that pairs benefits and financial aid screening with referrals to additional services provided by nonprofit partners—giving students the full picture of existing resources that can help them enroll, persist, and complete college. As of March 2015, Single Stop’s technology platform was on-track for beta testing in the New York City area.

Building Tomorrow’s Mortgage Supply Chain with Technology

Commitment by: FairMortgage.US
Commitment Partners: Stanford Haas Center for Public Service; Massachusetts Finance Housing Agency; Ford Foundation; Community Capital Management; Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance; Massachusetts Housing Partnership;; Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley
In 2014, FairMortgage.US committed to build and launch the technology, platform, and services to support a new mortgage ecosystem that connects low- and moderate-income home buyers to the services, loan programs, and lenders that best meet their needs. FairMortgage.US expects 10,000 home buyers will utilize the platform and associated services. As of March 2015, FairMortgage.US was working closely with the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency,, and lenders to build pilot programs in specific regions across the United States.

Featured Past Participants

Center for Financial Services Innovation
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Ford Foundation
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
JPMorgan Chase Foundation
Staples, Inc.
Wells Fargo Bank