Wells Fargo funds Consumer Action’s new FinTech innovation work

Consumer Action received a $275,000 commitment from Wells Fargo 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: Monday, December 02, 2019

Wells Fargo has made a $275,000 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.

Recognizing that 40% of 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, limited-English-speaking and other underrepresented consumers. Consumer Action is introducing FinTech tools to the consumers and non-profit staff who work with them at various sites throughout the country (selected based on the staff’s and consumers’ common, self-identified financial needs).

Bonnie Wallace, channel manager for Wells Fargo’s financial inclusion and philanthropy program, announced the award on Sept. 17 at Consumer Action’s 10th annual National Consumer Empowerment Conference goal of the project is to educate financial educators on measuring financial health through in-person train-the-trainer events. Consumer Action and program participants (including financial coaches and counselors) will integrate the FinTech tools, along with our educational resources, into existing financial capability programs; provide technical assistance at half-day meetings (for those agencies prepared to launch FinTech innovation projects); offer an educational FinTech webinar for the financial educators; and distribute FinTech tools directly to LMI consumers while helping them to improve their financial health through the use of the tools. In order to reach an even greater number of vulnerable consumers, Consumer Action will be translating its existing FinTech fact sheet into Spanish with grant funds.

Consumer Action’s network partners will also measure changes in financial health using the Financial Health Network’s FinHealth Score™, formerly called the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) Financial Health Score® Toolkit.

Consumer Action Executive Director Ken McEldowney applauded the innovative initiative, stating that support from Wells Fargo “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.”

In 2018, Consumer Action received support from Wells Fargo for a pilot program to distribute FinTech tools and educational resources (including Consumer Action’s FinTech fact sheet) to LMI consumers and to measure changes in users’ financial health.

The fact sheet introduces consumers to the types of FinTech tools available to them 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 pilot will conclude at the end of the year.

The community development non-profit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Wells Fargo recently cohosted a webinar titled Steps Toward Financial Wellness. Consumer Action Director of Strategic Partnerships Audrey Perrott closed out the series in November with a presentation on FinTech.

“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with LISC and Wells Fargo to train financial coaches and other community-based organization staff on strategies for integrating financial technology into their existing work, the benefits and risks of FinTech and financial health measurement,” Perrott said.

Consumer Action and LISC are members of the Nonprofit-Fintech Exchange, managed by the Financial Health Network with support from the JPMorgan Chase Financial Solutions Lab and the Principal Foundation®.

“The Exchange operates as a valuable marketplace for engaged non-profits and FinTech providers to explore innovative collaboration opportunities and swap insights," Perrott said.

 

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