Financial Inclusion

FDIC is Focusing on Saving and Financial Inclusion

January 4, 2013
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Just of few years ago, the FDIC seemed like a sleepy banking regulator hidden somewhere in Washington DC. Sure, we were all glad it was there to offer insurance on our bank deposits but you would be forgiven if you thought that was all it did.  The Great Recession and financial crisis of 2008 certainly changed all that. The elevated profile of the FDIC made Former Chair Sheila Bair a household name (at least in households tuning into current events).

The Fiscal Cliff Deal: Making Mortgage Writedowns Possible

January 4, 2013

Tucked away in the pages of the tax bill that averted the Fiscal Cliff (which Aleta Sprague reviewed here) is a crucial lifeline to struggling homeowners. Known as the Mortgage Debt Relief Act,  thousands of homeowners who go through a mortgage modification, short sale, or foreclosure correction will not owe federal taxes on that debt forgiveness. This is a big deal.

Asset Building News Week, January 1-4

January 4, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include the fiscal cliff deal, financial products, housing, credit and debt.

Report: Swapping Payday Loans for Auto-Title Loans in Ohio

December 20, 2012
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Beginning in 1996, Ohio saw an explosion of payday lenders. Over time, this was recognized as a problem, as the short terms and high interest rates of payday loans were seen to create a trap for borrowers. So the state legislature passed a law imposing new lending regulations that would better protect borrowers. That law, the Short Term Loan Act, was endorsed by voters in a statewide referendum.

I'm just a bill, sitting on Capitol Hill, problem solved, right? Well, no.

Guest Post: Promoting New Efforts to Get Kids to Save and Get Kids to College

December 19, 2012
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Editor’s Note:This post was authored by Michael Chasnow. Michael is the Operations Manager for the 1:1 Fund, an online community, conceived and capitalized by CFED, that promotes educational opportunity for low-income students. He received an MBA and masters in urban planning from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Graduating college is a critical step for children from lower income families aspiring to join the middle class. According to 2012 Postsecondary Education Opportunity Research, only 10% of low-income children living in families in the bottom quartile of income (~$33,000 and below) graduate from college by their mid-20s. This low graduation rate severely limits their future opportunities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, individuals with a college degree earn on average over $900K more in their lifetime than high school grads, and, as the Lumina Foundation argues, more college graduates in the work force also benefits the U.S. economy by helping to create jobs. Additionally, graduating college increases one’s chances of gaining employment (and thus building wealth), with college graduates’ unemployment rates at 3.8% and workers with high school degrees at 8.1% as of November 2012.

Asset Building News Week, December 10-14

December 14, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include the social safety net, inequality and wealth gaps, housing, and financial institutions.

Event in NYC Thursday: Managing Shifted Risk

December 12, 2012

Our friends and readers in the greater NYC area should take note that we're co-hosting an event tomorrow eveing, Thursday December 13th from 6:30 pm to 8:15 pm, at the New America NYC space at 199 Lafayette Street, Suite 3B in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.

Asset Building News Week, December 3-7

December 7, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include housing, taxes and wealth gaps, the safety net, and financial products.

CGAP's Technology Blog: From Social Protection to Financial Inclusion and Beyond

November 26, 2012

This post was orginally published on CGAP's Technology Blog.

The idea that linking social protection payments to financial inclusion initiatives can reduce poverty is gaining increasing traction. In February of this year, CGAP published a paper on Social Cash Transfers and Financial Inclusion. In April, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held a workshop examining the potential of financially-inclusive electronic G2P payments. One of the core goals of the Better Than Cash Alliance, launched in September by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, UN Capital Development Fund, USAID, and Visa Inc., is to reduce the reliance on cash for G2P and other transfers in order to improve the effectiveness of aid.

Tax Subsidies vs. Auto Enrollment: What’s Best?

November 26, 2012
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A new study released this week examines a critical policy design question: what is the most effective way to increase retirement savings, including among lower-income workers? Most notably, the study finds that while tax subsidies to retirement savings result in a negligible increase in overall savings, “nudge” policies like automatic enrollment and default contributions boost retirement savings without corresponding decreases in other accounts. As noted in the N.Y. Times Economix blog, this research may have serious policy implications for tax reform in the U.S. – particularly as Congress seeks to raise revenue through lowering tax expenditures.

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