Too many Americans lead financial lives of quiet desperation. More of us must earn our income by cobbling together multiple part-time jobs which pay low wages, offer no benefits, and require us to work erratic schedules that create serious logistical and psychological stress. Secure salary-paying jobs increasingly require a college degree, an asset that recedes beyond more Americans’ reach as tuition costs spiral out of control. Good jobs are also increasingly concentrated in a handful of cities where housing costs have, unsurprisingly, risen accordingly. Low-income Americans suffer the most, but even middle-class Americans live too close to the financial edge.
Technological innovation in financial services (fintech) creates a powerful opportunity to expand financial inclusion by delivering better-designed products at larger scale and lower cost. To better serve low- and moderate-income customers, we must fully leverage fintech’s tremendous untapped potential to expand financial security.
nLIFT, or Nonprofit Leaders in Financial Technology, is a new consortium of leaders from nonprofit organizations around the country. We come from different regions and have different operating models but two things unite us. First, we are committed to working in our respective ways to build the financial security of low- and moderate-income households. Second, we see a unique and necessary role for the nonprofit sector to play in ensuring that fintech, or financial technology, innovations focus on those households’ needs. We believe that such a focus is unlikely to happen on its own for a variety of reasons, mostly to do with fintech’s existing incentive structures.
We believe that now is the moment for sustained and intentional collaboration. nLIFT envisions all stakeholders—nonprofits, fintechs, donors, investors, policymakers, opinion leaders, the general public, and customers, especially low- and moderate-income customers—coming together now, in focused and fruitful dialogue and cooperation, to ensure that we fully leverage fintech’s tremendous untapped potential to expand financial security. All of us have roles to play.
Download the report here: https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/2018/09/nLIFT-Manifesto-FINAL-1.pdf