Results tagged as "financial inclusion"

  • Expanding Financial Inclusion: Technology

    By Jennifer Tescher, President & CEO, Center for Financial Services Innovation, and Brandee McHale, Chief Operating Officer, Citi Foundation April 11, 2013 12:27 PM


    The decreasing cost of cellphones has caused a rise in mobile phone usage among households at all income levels. As smartphone adoption increases in the United States and worldwide, more people are engaging in mobile activities beyond simply making phone calls - and that includes on-the-go money management.

    According to Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2013, a just-released report from the U.S. Federal Reserve, "the use of mobile financial services is particularly prevalent among the 10 percent of the population that is underbanked." The report also states that "among the 90 percent of underbanked consumers with mobile phones, 49 percent had used mobile banking in the 12 months preceding November 2012, up from 29 percent in December 2011." *

    These mobile trends point to opportunities for financial technology innovation to better educate and reach the unbanked and underbanked through mobile devices.


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  • Expanding Financial Inclusion: Housing

    By Jose Quinonez, Executive Director, Mission Asset Fund April 05, 2013 05:54 PM

    Twenty five million people in the United States have no credit score. Without a credit score, these individuals cannot get a loan to buy a car, start a business, or secure housing --all crucial to increasing a person's economic stability and the ability to contribute to his or her community. Housing is a basic need, which is why Citi continues to work with partners like Mission Asset Fund to make access to affordable housing a keep component of our shared efforts to broaden financial inclusion.

    MAF's core focus is helping the unbanked access loans and build credit scores by formalizing loans traditionally created among peer groups outside of the mainstream banking system. The idea is simple: groups of people create lending circles that allow each member to chip in and give one participant a lump-sum, zero-interest, zero-fee loan. To date, MAF has managed more than $1.5 million in loans over four years with a default rate close to zero.

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  • Spotlight on Financial Inclusion

    By Pam Flaherty, President & CEO of the Citi Foundation and Bob Annibale, Citi's Global Director of Microfinance & Community Development April 02, 2013 01:38 PM


    More than two billion people around the world do not have access to basic financial services
    such as savings accounts, lines of credit and insurance products. This lack of formal access means that nearly a third of the world's population is unable to create a financial safety net for their families, withstand financial setbacks, build financial identities, and take their first steps towards sustained economic stability. Combined with ongoing uncertainty about the global economy, it's clear the need for innovative solutions is immediate.

    Citi's efforts around financial inclusion focus on identifying opportunities and partners to connect those outside the financial system with access to basic financial capabilities and services. Broadly speaking, financial inclusion covers a multitude of initiatives that lower financial hurdles for the unbanked and underserved. Through Citi's core business expertise and global network, Citi Microfinance's specialized business partnerships and product innovation, and through the work of the Citi Foundation to fund pioneering initiatives, we strive for creative solutions that foster financial inclusion in collaboration with our many strategic partners.


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  • CT Prospera: An Alternative to Alternative Financial Products

    By Mona Masri, Senior Vice President, Citi Community Development March 11, 2013 10:30 AM

    The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco recently released a new case study about an innovative check cashing/credit union hybrid service model called CT Prospera. This pilot initiative, developed and built with significant funding from Citi Community Development, is acting as a laboratory for better understanding the needs and behaviors of unbanked and underbanked consumers and advancing financial inclusion.

    The first effort of its kind, CT Prospera combines the look and feel of a traditional check cashing operation with responsible transaction services and a newly defined method of financial coaching. Together, these approaches incrementally move clients towards savings, asset building, and responsible credit with each customer interaction.

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  • Citi joins with CFI and Visa to launch Financial Inclusion 2020

    By Pamela Flaherty, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Citi and President & CEO of the Citi Foundation January 29, 2013 01:00 PM

    More than 2 billion people around the world lack access to basic financial services such as savings accounts, credit cards, insurance, and a way to make or receive payments. Citi and the Citi Foundation have worked for decades to broaden financial inclusion among underserved individuals and markets, and this week those efforts took a massive step forward with the launch of Financial Inclusion 2020 (FI2020).

    Citi is pleased to take a leadership role in joining the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and Visa Inc. to convene longtime partners and invite new stakeholders to work together to create universal access to quality financial services and drive sustained economic growth. Expanding financial inclusion is both a development imperative for underserved communities and a forward-thinking approach to unlocking the economic potential of new markets.

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  • Empowering low-income individuals to become long-term savers

    By Don Burback, Citi Community Development Officer Southeast and West Texas September 28, 2012 05:30 PM

    Last week I joined several Citi colleagues and many of our nonprofit and policy partners at the CFED Assets Learning Conference in Washington, D.C.There we examined strategies for empowering American families to save and build assets. I was invited to share some of our experiences in Houston, Texas, developing collaborative new approaches to asset building.

    Household savings provides financial security and offers individuals the opportunity to move up the economic ladder; however, we have found that many Texas families -- and many Houstonians, in particular -- have little or no savings.

    According to the recently released FDIC 2011 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, more than a third of households in Houston do not even have a savings account. Nearly 12 percent have no bank account at all. As a state, Texas ranks near the bottom in many overall measures of household financial security on CFED's 2012 Assets & Opportunities Scorecard. In fact, one in two Texans lacks enough "rainy day" savings to weather a temporary loss of income. As a result, Texans are much more at risk of turning to predatory lending to weather a temporary need for cash.

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  • Citi Helps Launch Better Than Cash Alliance, Accelerating Transition to E-payments

    By Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Microfinance and Community Development September 27, 2012 02:00 PM

    Click the photo above to watch video

    This week, Citi helped to launch the Better Than Cash Alliance, a coalition of public, private and NGO partners that will call on governments, the development community and the private sector to adopt the use of electronic payments for programs that support the underbanked -- and provide resources to those who commit to make the transition.

    According to a report commissioned by the Better Than Cash Alliance and released by specialist consultancy Bankable Frontier Associates, roughly 2.6 billion people live on less than $2 per day and 90 percent of them lack access to formal financial services, mainly operating in a cash-only economy that is vulnerable to theft, loss, lack of transparency, and inefficiencies.

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  • Tax Time Savings Strategies: Exploring the Earned Income Tax Credit and More

    By Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Microfinance and Community Development, and Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference September 19, 2012 10:45 AM

    Since its introduction in 1975, the earned-income tax credit (EITC) has been one of our nation's most effective anti-poverty policies. A new article we co-authored in the Fall 2012 issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas entitled "Tax Policy: Spreading the Benefits More Widely," explores how this powerful anti-poverty program can do even more. We argue that linking the Earned Income Tax Credit with long-term savings opportunities can expand financial security among low-income people.

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  • Citi Russia Wins Consumer Rights and Quality Service Award

    By Sergey Korotkov, Retail Bank Head, Citibank Russia July 31, 2012 09:00 AM

    Citi was recently named the winner of the Consumer Rights and Quality Service Prize in the Financial Literacy and Openness category by the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in their 3rd Annual awards ceremony.

    It is a great honor and responsibility to win in this award. Our bank pays much attention to the issue of raising the quality of financial education of consumers of financial services. We consider our expenditures on financial literacy programs to be long-term investments in the development of human potential, which in turn will foster prosperity in Russia's region and facilitate the sustainable development of our business.

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  • It is time to Start2Save!

    By Gwendy Donaker Brown, Director of Policy and New Initiatives, Opportunity Fund July 30, 2012 01:00 PM

    Last year, Opportunity Fund launched our newest savings product - Start2Save. These savings accounts are designed to support low-income people in building up emergency savings through a free Citi savings account coupled with financial training and a matching grant of up to $1,000. Once a saver has earned the grant, how they use the money is completely up to them - no strings attached.

    Opportunity Fund is the nation's leading Individual Development Account (IDA) microsavings provider and we've built a long and rich partnership with Citi. We offer an IDA that gives low-income savers complete control of their own savings--a radical departure in the asset-building field. Historically, the microsavings provider (like Opportunity Fund) approved when and where savings were invested. In this case, the asset is simply the dollars saved. The saver maintains full autonomy and control over the money. Empowerment and responsibility are what we teach, after all.

    After the first year rolling out these new Start2Save microsavings accounts, here's a look at what we've seen and learned so far and where we are headed:

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