Financial insecurity is rife in the United States. Amid the longest period of sustained economic growth in modern US history, millions of American individuals and households are struggling to find financial stability in the short-term and security in the long-term. Safe, affordable, and responsibly-provided financial services can strengthen a family or an individual’s ability to make their own choices and exert control over their circumstances. But not all financial services are accessible, safe, or produce good outcomes for consumers. And too many people in the United States—over a quarter of American households—are not fully engaged with the financial services and products they could benefit from, because they don’t have the means to access financial products and services, or because the products presented as most accessible are, in fact, predatory.
An inclusive financial system provides everyone with the ability to access, properly utilize, and reap the benefits of a full suite of financial services that can help households to build short-term stability and long-term financial security. This is a well-functioning system of interrelated stakeholders in the public, private and social sectors providing consumers with safe, affordable and useful financial products and services ranging from payments to short- and long-term savings vehicles, credit, investments and insurance, and protecting them from bad actors.
The opportunity to shape the financial services system is radically different today than it was even ten years ago. Through rapid advances in technology, government agencies’ engagement in and support for responsible innovation, a focus on quantifiable metrics of household financial outcomes, and the prospect of crucial faster payments infrastructure, financial systems are today evolving in real time. This moment provides a powerful opportunity to intentionally build the next generation of financial systems that are structurally, rather than post-hoc, inclusive. Put simply, now is the time to build the financial system of the future for everyone.
Inclusive financial systems can not only have significant impact on the lives of American individuals and families, but can also help to build a more inclusive economy with greater shared prosperity. Visit our new hub on Building Inclusive Financial Systems, designed to drive conversations on how financial systems can be leveraged to help households achieve financial stability and security.