Financial Capability Innovation Fund

Supporting strategies that provide Americans access to the financial products and educational tools they need to change their lives.

The Financial Capability Innovation Fund, managed by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), supported promising nonprofit-led projects designed to help consumers better manage their finances and achieve financial prosperity. Specifically, the Fund focused on projects that spur positive behavioral change and measurable outcomes for low-income, and financially underserved consumers. Examples of the result include improved credit scores, increased savings, or avoidance of unnecessary transaction fees.

Through a competitive request for proposals process, CFSI selected five cutting-edge projects to receive $1.5 million total in grant support. These projects promoted financial capability by leveraging technology; applying behavioral economics concepts; and closely combining relevant, timely, actionable, and ongoing strategies with access to high-quality financial products and services.

The grantees of the Financial Capability Innovation Fund were:

  • Clarifi (Formerly Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley) tested whether social commitments and text alerts can help consumers reduce debt.
  • Co-opportunity, Inc. developed technology via a new online platform to enhance the effectiveness and scale of its volunteer budget coaching program.
  • Filene Research Institute tested whether rewarding consistent and timely loan payments with interest rate reductions leads to better payment behavior.
  • Piggymojo used goal visualization, social dynamics and mobile technology to help low-income savers turn impulse buys into “impulse saves.”
  • Mission Asset Fund franchised its Cestas Populares, or Lending Circles program, a peer loan coupled with product-specific peer-led education, to help immigrant and low-income customers build credit and manage credit wisely.

For an update on the progress of the Fund grantees, click here to view the Financial Capability Innovation Fund Mid-Term Report.

CFSI selected these five projects from among 246 applications totaling more than $67 million in requests. Organizations from more than 44 states responded to the request for proposals that CFSI released in September 2010.

CFSI is serious about program evaluation and ensuring that the Financial Capability Innovation Fund contributed to building a knowledge base about what works to help consumers improve their financial health. Toward that end, nationally renowned researchers evaluated each of these innovative programs to see what really works to promote financial capability. The research partners included the following organizations: Innovations for Poverty Action; the Center for Financial Security (University of Wisconsin-Madison); the Center for Community Capital (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill); and the César E. Chávez Institute (San Francisco State University).

CFSI also provided several forms of non-financial support to ensure the success of the selected projects including strategic guidance, technical assistance, visibility, peer-learning opportunities such as our Financial Capability Innovators Development Lab, and access to an unparalleled network in the financial services industry.


The Financial Capability Innovation Fund is generously supported by:

Led by:

and also by:

 

            

                      

                                             

 

In September of 2012, CFSI launched a new fund- the Financial Capability Innovation Fund II (FCIF II.) This new fund also seeks to identify, support, and evaluate promising interventions aimed at promoting financial capability among low-income and underserved consumers.

Click here to learn more about the FCIF II.

 

For more information about the Financial Capability Innovation Fund, please contact Joshua Sledge, Manager, Nonprofit Investments, jsledge@cfsinnovation.com. For more information and research about the Financial Capability concept, click here.