CFSI’s mission is to transform the U.S. financial services marketplace to help underbanked consumers achieve financial prosperity. We seek to improve the quality and quantity of financial products and services, better shape them to the needs and desires of underbanked customers, and expand effective savings and asset acquisition opportunities. We believe that addressing the needs of the underbanked consumers as a market will deliver broad, long-term change throughout the financial services landscape by creating mutual benefit for both the underbanked consumer and the companies that serve them. To do this, we work with organizations and institutions in industry, government, and the nonprofit sector.
The Center has developed a variety of programs and activities to promote and enhance underbanked strategy and practice. It provides funding for innovative solutions, connects potential partners, offers platforms for testing products and services, and identifies, develops and distributes authoritative information on how to respond to the needs of the underbanked profitably and responsibly.
CFSI uses the term "underbanked" or "underserved" to describe the consumers served by its initiatives. This is a large, diverse population, with significant economic power and potential. Many of these consumers have both traditional and non-tradition financial services relationships, or previously had such relationships. The one common denominator they all share is that their financial needs are not currently fully met; they do not have access to the products and services that could put them on the road to prosperity.
Key to achieving our mission is a deep understanding of the financial attitudes, needs, and behaviors of all consumers, particularly low and moderate income individuals. CFSI undertakes a number of activities to listen to, know about, and learn from consumers, including: investing in innovative for and nonprofit organizations, participating on the US Financial Diaries project which seeks to better understand the financial lives of families living in low-income communities, conducting the 2008 Underbanked Consumer Study, creating the video series: Spotlight on Innovation, and engaging in selected consulting projects. CFSI uses this consumer knowledge to inform industry, government, and nonprofit audiences on how to best reach and serve the financially underserved.