JPMorgan Chase funds Consumer Action’s innovative new FinTech initiative

Consumer Action has received a $100,000 commitment from JPMorgan Chase to support the scale of its financial technology innovation and education initiatives to directly address America’s savings crisis and improve financial health for low- and moderate-income (LMI) and underrepresented consumers.
Published: Tuesday, November 05, 2019

JPMorgan Chase has made a $100,000 commitment to Consumer Action to support the scaling of our financial technology (FinTech) innovation and education initiatives, which directly address America’s savings crisis and will, based on the positive outcomes of our recent FinTech pilot program, help to improve the financial health of low-to-moderate-income (LMI) and underrepresented consumers.

Knowing that four out of 10 American families lack enough savings to cover a $400 emergency, Consumer Action is working to combat the pervasive impact of financial setbacks on the lives of LMI consumers by introducing FinTech tools to the consumers and non-profit staff who work with them at various sites throughout the country. The tools are selected based on the staff’s and consumers’ common, self-identified financial needs.

Courtney Hodapp, head of the Office of Nonprofit Engagement for JPMorgan Chase, announced the award on Sept. 17 at Consumer Action’s 10th annual National Consumer Empowerment Conference.

“Sound financial health is key to building resilient households and communities,” noted Hodapp. “At JPMorgan Chase, we are pleased to support Consumer Action as part of our $125 million, five-year commitment to improving the financial health of people in underserved communities across the U.S.”

The goal of the project is to distribute financial technology tools to LMI consumers, help them improve their financial health through the use of FinTech tools, and measure ensuing changes in financial health. In order to reach an even greater number of vulnerable consumers, Consumer Action will also translate its existing FinTech fact sheet into Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean with grant funds.

Consumer Action Executive Director Ken McEldowney applauded the innovative initiative, stating that support from JPMorgan Chase “is crucial in our work to introduce financially vulnerable consumers to financial technology tools and platforms that can help them achieve balance in their financial lives. We have found that well designed FinTech tools can provide consumers with new insights and a path to financial health.”

Tools will be distributed based on the individual financial needs of the consumers. Financial coaches and counselors provide assistance to consumers while introducing them to the financial technology tools. Coaches and consumers will use the tools together. Consumer Action network partners then measure financial health using the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) Financial Health Score® Toolkit survey.

In 2018, Consumer Action received support from the Nonprofit-Fintech Exchange, managed by the Financial Health Network with support from the JPMorgan Chase-backed Financial Solutions Lab and the Principal Foundation®, for a five-month pilot program that involved distributing FinTech tools and educational resources to LMI consumers, measuring their financial health and creating/distributing the financial technology fact sheet. The fact sheet introduces consumers to the types of FinTech tools that are available and outlines how the tools can help them budget, manage spending and move forward with their money goals. It also tells consumers what to consider when choosing a FinTech app and how to stay safe when using the apps and platforms.

The Consumer Action-run pilot program resulted in 38 consumers and nine non-profit staffers saving nearly $22,000.

Consumer Action was one of nine grantees in a cohort of pilot partnerships, and our work was featured in the Financial Health Network report “Cross-Sector Solutions: A Guide to Nonprofit-Fintech Partnerships.”

"We are very excited to introduce financial technology and financial health measurement to the community-based organizations we work with. We conducted a recent survey of our network partners and the demand was high for education on financial technology and information on how to distribute tools to underserved consumers," said Consumer Action Director of Strategic Partnerships Audrey Perrot.

 

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