In 2014, the financial services industry is looking to technology as a vital link between financial capability and under-resourced communities. Investments in these technologies are imperative to alleviate economic disparity and create better, safer options for the underbanked. Bridging the fiscal divide is a challenge we all share.

The truth is that the fundamentals of family economic success are simply not taught as core components of our public or private education systems at any level.

Until the recent creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2011, there was no single mandated federal government agency responsible for protecting, much less nurturing, family and consumer livelihoods.

Innovation means asking the question of how we use technology and available resources to bring to scale and make accessible the impact of financial health and coaching into our everyday lives.

The good news is that tech companies and social justice movers alike are recognizing that the keys to financial empowerment are already in people’s hands, via their smartphones.

Smartphones often serve as the sole computing device for low- and moderate-income individuals and families. A recent neighborhood survey conducted by the nonprofit Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) in San Francisco’s Mission District showed that, while 74 percent of homes had access to the Internet — in the heart of tech savvy SF — 95 percent of homes did have access to smartphones.

Read the rest at