New Treasury Initiative to Serve Unbanked
This month, the Obama Administration announced the launch of a new Financial Inclusion Initiative. The initiative will be spearheaded by the Treasury Department and other regulators as well as a group of financial institutions and nonprofit organizations. The goal of the initiative is to “accelerate progress on financial inclusion efforts.” On December 1, 2015, the Treasury Department convened a Financial Inclusion Forum to kick-start the initiative and assign participants to specific projects.
Several financial service providers agreed to support regional initiatives across the US. Hope Credit Union and Regions Bank will establish branches in the some of the country’s “most unbanked regions,” specifically targeting the Mississippi River Delta. JP Morgan Chase will give $7.5 million to a fund to promote “innovations in financial services” for low-income households. Intuit will work to educate consumers about the importance of retirement savings and Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) will pilot a new credit score using untraditional measures of credit worthiness. Treasury Department Secretary Jacob Lew delivered remarks at the event, saying, “At the national and global level, financial inclusion improves economic growth by connecting consumers and small businesses to the financial system. And work by the IMF points to a strong positive relationship between household access to financial services and macroeconomic growth.”
Treasury Press Release: