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Integrating Technology into CDFI Small Business Lending: The Real Deal

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The last decade has seen a strong push to integrate new financial technologies into CDFI small business lending — a push exacerbated by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most CDFI small business lenders have begun the integration process, but found it challenging to fully access and reap the benefits of technology in finance (not to mention fintech). This shouldn’t be surprising — experiences with technology across other industries and sectors could have predicted the hurdles to wide-scale adoption and successful implementation. This session identifies the critical issues the CDFI industry — and, crucially, its funders and investors — must address if they are to create value from/reap the benefits of technology:

  • What is Total Cost of Ownership and why does it matter for technology tactical and strategic planning?
  • Policy, process, or technology — which comes first and why?
  • Why/how is scale important in realizing the benefits of technology?
  • How do private and public funding practices create challenges, and what can be done to improve?

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This webinar was developed as part of the Global Inclusive Growth Partnership, a collaboration between the Aspen Institute and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.


Joyce Klein

Joyce Klein
Senior Director, Business Ownership Initiative @Aspen_BOI

Joyce Klein is the senior director of the Business Ownership Initiative, which works to expand the role of  business ownership in generating economic opportunity. Ms. Klein assumed the leadership of BOI (formerly FIELD) in 2012, after working as a senior consultant since the program’s inception in 1998. She is recognized as a leading expert on microlending in the US, speaking at national and regional industry conferences and being quoted in a variety of news media, including The New York Times and NPR’s “Marketplace.” Joyce has more than 20 years of experience studying and supporting microenterprise and entrepreneurial development programs in the US, and she has authored or co-authored numerous publications, including funder brief and strategy guides, evaluation and research reports, case studies, and policy briefs. She has also designed and managed grant programs aimed at supporting innovation in the practice of microenterprise development in the US.

Under Ms. Klein’s leadership, BOI launched the Microfinance Impact Collaborative and helped to create the Entrepreneur Backed Assets Fund and the Responsible Business Lending Coalition. A central focus of BOI’s work includes examining the potential role of business ownership and the microenterprise field in addressing the challenges of racial inequity and the racial wealth gap.

Ms. Klein also has worked as a consultant in the microenterprise field, providing assistance to clients including the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund of the US Department of the Treasury and CFED (formerly the Corporation for Enterprise Development). Prior to her work with BOI, Ms. Klein led CFED’s work in microenterprise development. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Boston College.


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Tim Ogden
Senior Fellow, Business Ownership Initiative @Aspen_BOI

Timothy Ogden is a senior fellow with the Aspen Institute’s Business Ownership Initiative and its Financial Security Program. Tim also serves as Managing Director of New York University’s Financial Access Initiative (FAI), coordinating FAI’s research, communications, and operations. His previous work experience encompasses the private and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining the Financial Access Initiative he was the Chief Knowledge Officer at Geneva Global, Inc., an international philanthropy advisory company, and founding editor of Gartner Press. He founded and currently leads Sona Partners, a thought leadership communications firm, where he has helped develop more than 20 books for major publishers. Tim is co-author of Toyota Under Fire, and author of Experimental Conversations, a collection of interviews with economists conducting field experiments on poverty alleviation interventions. Tim also serves as chairman of GiveWell.


Video — Integrating Technology into CDFI Small Business Lending: The Real Deal. Featuring @Aspen_BOI Senior Director Joyce Klein and BOI Senior Fellow @timothyogden (@financialaccess).

There’s been a push to integrate fintech into CDFI small business lending. But it can be hard to reap the benefits of this transition. How can CDFIs overcome these hurdles? Hear Joyce Klein @Aspen_BOI and @timothyogden discuss.

This webinar with Joyce Klein @Aspen_BOI and @timothyogden identifies the critical issues that CDFIs, funders, and investors must address to create value from — and reap the benefits of — new financial technologies.

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The Business Ownership Initiative works to build understanding and strengthen the role of business ownership as an economic opportunity strategy. BOI is an initiative of the Economic Opportunities Program.

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.

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