History and Achievements

Blog published on October 15, 2014

Strengthening Americans' Financial Health

In 2004, we set out to shine a spotlight on the tens of millions of Americans who were falling through the cracks of the traditional banking system.  We founded CFSI to catalyze innovation in the financial services industry to meet the needs of the underbanked.


As we reflect on the birth of our organization and the vision we had, we are proud of what we have accomplished since then.

  • Became the first and only center for innovation to leverage technology changes to improve the quality of financial services for low- to moderate-income Americans
  • Conducted the nation’s first study on the un- and “underbanked” 
  • Identified and seeded innovations in transactions, savings and credit
  • Founded the nation’s premier conference around better serving the financially underserved
  • Developed the Compass Principles, a framework to guide the design and delivery of high-quality financial services 
  • Championed financial capability as a more effective framework for driving consumer behavior change, successfully shifting both U.S. policy and practices on the ground
  • Invested over $30 million in promising fintech innovations that improve the financial lives of everyday Americans 
  • Increased understanding of underserved consumers and the market opportunities to serve them profitably and responsibly, through our notable research in tracking the financially underserved marketplace and the state of Americans’ financial health

Along the way we have built an incredible network of like-minded partners and providers.  We have advised some of the largest brands in the financial services industry on products and strategy development, which in turn has improved the lives of millions of Americans.
With ongoing support from founding partner Ford Foundation and many other organizations, we embark on a second decade focused on further advancing quality in financial services and promoting mutual, long-term benefits in the consumer-provider relationship. 

To interact with our past 10 years, click on the Prezi below to take you through 10 provocative questions addressing inclusive financial services -- and our response.