Asset Building Program

Archives: Asset Building Program Articles and Op-Eds

PODCAST: Savings Made Easy -- Perfect for Tough Times

  • By
  • Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini,
  • New America Foundation
March 11, 2009 |

End the War on Savings

  • By
  • Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini,
  • New America Foundation
February 12, 2009 |

Finland recently launched a war -- on household savings. The campaign warns Finns to lay off the piggy bank, pleading: "Don't feed the recession." The rhetoric there is quite similar to reports we've seen here from economists and Wall Street forecasters nervous at signs that U.S. consumers are starting to save.

A Better Measure of Poverty Needed

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
January 28, 2009 |

The tanking economy is putting local governments in a double bind. As the ranks of the poor and jobless swell, authorities have dwindling funds to help them. Incredibly, officials in San Francisco and other cities can't even prioritize who to help because they don't know who their poorest citizens are. The problem lies with an obsolete federal measure of poverty that will only make hard times harder in San Francisco until it's changed. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spearheaded just such a revolution in New York City, allowing officials to better direct their limited funds and energy.

In D.C., Opening Doors Even in Tough Times

  • By
  • David Newville,
  • New America Foundation
January 11, 2009 |

As foreclosure rates continue to reach record highs here in the Washington region and across the country and the global economy reels, many Americans have begun to question whether expanding homeownership is a wise strategy. While there is plenty of blame to go around for this mess, the goal of expanding homeownership is still an important one and should not be sacrificed. It can be done responsibly and should remain a priority. In fact, one of the best examples of how it can be done is right here in the District.

Green: The Unofficial Color of the New Millennium

  • By
  • Leila Seradj,
  • New America Foundation
January 1, 2009 |

With "green" on everyone's tongues, it was only a matter of time before the question of environmentally-friendly practices arose in microfinance.  Practitioners and microfinance partner groups have focused their efforts on asking questions about the impact of microfinance clients on the natural environment.  I, on the other hand, can't help but wonder if we should be asking what microfinance can do to protect the most vulnerable from environmental woes brought about by climate change. 

What We Need Out of a Second Stimulus Package

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
October 22, 2008 |

Central bankers usually don’t like to admit that their economies are in recession. But Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did just that earlier this week in testimony before Congress. He had little choice. The financial storm he has been weathering has almost certainly unleashed a global and national recession. The pain of the recession and the accompanying job loss is already being felt by families and communities across the country, and it is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Too Small To Fail

  • By
  • Phillip Longman,
  • Ellen Seidman,
  • New America Foundation
October 21, 2008 |

Last fall, Countrywide Financial, then the nation's largest mortgage lender, had a curious new idea --or, more precisely, an old one. No longer would it slush foreign capital through Wall Street to make subprime loans. Instead, the lender would depend entirely on deposits from savers who would finance one another's mortgages--kind of like that humble thrift institution run by George Bailey in the movie It's a Wonderful Life.

Pay to Learn is Working in New York

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
October 15, 2008 |

Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad has probably never met Soledad Moya, an eighth-grader at Middle School 302 in the South Bronx. But both are big believers in an approach that has people wringing their hands and wagging their fingers: paying students to perform on standardized tests. Moya's school is a 45-minute subway ride from the Manhattan hotel where Broad took the stage at last month's Clinton Global Initiative to announce a $6-million grant to help launch EdLabs -- an initiative at Harvard University to advance innovations in public schools.

How to Encourage Families to Save for College

  • By
  • Rourke OBrien,
  • New America Foundation
September 25, 2008 |

This month, as parents of college-age students sign promissory notes for student loans and watch tuition checks diminish their bank accounts, Congress is encouraging all parents to wake up and start planning. While National College Savings Month -- meant to spread awareness about the need to save for higher education -- has a laudable goal, promoting the importance of saving won't do much to help struggling families afford the cost of higher education.

Tax Refunds Deposited onto Prepaid Cards Could Provide Financial Access to Unbanked

  • By
  • Melissa Koide,
  • New America Foundation
September 23, 2008 |

Two critical questions exist for the prepaid industry. What will it take for prepaid cards to achieve widespread awareness and acceptance among a critical mass of consumers? When will prepaid users turn to the prepaid card as an ongoing financial tool?

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